The Teen Magician: That's You!


A reassuring guide to turning a magical hobby into a profitable business.

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The hard part of magic—getting paid for it—is ably demystified in this straightforward debut primer.

Kraus, a renowned magician who has been performing in paid shows since the age of 12, reveals the secrets behind a few nifty tricks and steers readers toward books, magazines, magic shops and clubs that will teach them the nuts and bolts of the magician’s craft, but his focus is on helping neophyte magicians turn their passion into moneymaking gigs at children’s birthday parties. He emphasizes showmanship as the key to a successful party business: flamboyant costumes (sequins will spruce up the classic top hat and tails); a commanding stage presence (Kraus recommends the performer listen to recordings of his or her voice and practice modulating it); and jokey patter (he includes an extended script for his own “mystery trick” bit that rivets the attention of restive youngsters). Thematic storytelling, running gags and catchphrases help, too, as a way of drawing kids into the unfolding magical effects. Kraus analyzes the niceties of tailoring a show to the audience’s age and attention span—very young kids may not get jokes or register the magician’s apparent defiance of physics and logic—and offers strategies on how to cope with the young volunteer who suddenly dissolves in tears, the disruptive brat who needs to be disciplined or the heedlessly talkative parents who need to be diplomatically shushed. Due attention is paid to the all-important topic of advertising and promotions (sending self-written public relations profiles to local news outlets desperate for filler is a surefire trick), and there’s a thorough discussion of contracting and record-keeping, complete with sample forms. Kraus writes in a clear, humorous style, sprinkling in his own entertaining anecdotes of stage fright, a prop that sliced open his thumb and a flash paper (highly flammable paper) incident that almost burned down the house. Magicians in the making will learn a lot from his vast experience and engaging presentation.

A reassuring guide to turning a magical hobby into a profitable business.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1623097745

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Other Than Now

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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