JACKSON & JENKS, MASTER MAGICIANS

Frischman, known for playing Arvid on the TV series Head of the Class, creates a madcap tale with zany twists and turns in his debut children’s novel.

Jamie and Darren, two 15-year-olds in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., work mindless jobs and dream of becoming famous millionaires. As they bumble through magic shows, they realize the fantasy of becoming famed magicians is fading. Then, while shopping in a thrift store, Jamie rubs a bottle and a genie invades the body of a fellow shopper, who tells Jamie that he has three wishes. Jamie and Darren flee from the man, assuming he’s crazy, but later Jamie wishes aloud that he could be the best magician in the world and he’s suddenly able to do tricks that he only dreamed possible—tricks that could never occur without the use of real magic. As the pair’s popularity increases, enemies emerge, taking the boys on a wild ride as the pair attempt to hold onto their status of the world’s greatest magicians. As the police, FBI and a jealous competitor chase the boys, the duo learns important lessons about friendship and fame with surprising magical twists. The book nicely captures the lesson that success requires hard work, something the fame-hungry boys soon realize. Frischman creates a wild adventure; the boys straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa and turn the U.S. president into a guinea pig, while another character becomes an Arabian princess. However, some of writing is awkwardly constructed (“Dark red rivets dressed its ornate neck design”), and Frischman’s depiction of TV personalities seems bitter and mean-spirited, detracting from the fun of the book. A male talk show host calls the female host an “overpaid, brainless ditz” after she admits she thinks their guests are vapid and their movies or TV shows are without merit. But the overall tale is still an enjoyable ride. Frischman crafts an exciting, whimsical story that will entertain adults and children.

 

Pub Date: April 7, 2009

ISBN: 978-0979629600

Page Count: 237

Publisher: J.J. Ross Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more