Tricks sure to disarm even someone with a bad case of the grumps.



A sunny array of card, coin, and doodad magic tricks presented in step-by-step format.

Much of the pleasure of Banfield’s show-and-tell guide to trickery is the sheer joy he brings to the project: “The truth is I get such a rush from the moment I absolutely astound someone with a cool trick.” To introduce each of the four broad categories the 52 tricks are divided among, the young white man offers some basic tools of each of the trades. Within those categories, each move for each trick is shown in numbered sequence and is easy enough to follow with the eye, but it is best to remember Banfield’s words at the beginning of the book. Rule No. 1 is never reveal the secret to a trick: that would take the magic out of it. Rule No. 2: “understand, practice, and master each trick before you perform it.” And rule No. 3 is to enjoy the thrill you give. Tips complement each trick, but they are not shortcuts. They might aid in showing how to add grace to a move or how to distract an audience for that critical, magical second. Banfield has also got a sense of humor: for the “Mind-Reading Code” trick, “you will need: a good memory and an accomplice.” Lastly, Banfield has a magic smile. It is exactly the same in over 60 photographs. Pretty amazing.

Tricks sure to disarm even someone with a bad case of the grumps. (Nonfiction. 8-16)

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-151-2

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Quarto

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.



A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)


Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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