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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » BOOK REVIEW: The White Rabbit series (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ed rhodes
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Profile of ed rhodes
I'm at the library, killing time in the Juvenile section. (I didn't have time to wander around the regular stacks which were upstairs.) When I see a paperback book on the top of the shelf with a top hat with a pair of ears sticking out of it.

It turns out to be "The Vanishing Coin," by Kate Egan with magician Mike Lane, the first in a series of books under the group title; The White Rabbit.

Mike is a fourth grader who keeps getting into trouble because he can't sit still. (Maybe it's because I've raised a couple and was one myself, but it's obvious that this kid has Attention Deficit Syndrome and the adults in this story are clueless for not realizing it.)

He's also stuck spending his afternoons with Nora, who he doesn't dislike but she annoys him because she does EVERYTHING well. (She's like the opposite of Mike in that she's uber-focused and needs extra challenges to meet HER needs.)

Then, the two of them find "The White Rabbit," an antique shop/joke shop which has magic tricks in the back. The owner, Mr. Zerlin, sells them chattering teeth (The first hint that there will be "real" magic in this story is that Mike find two five dollar bills in his pocket without knowing they were there. While he's thrilled with the discovery, he doesn't question where they come from.) On a later visit, Zerlin offers to teach magic, but only to a magician. He's gives them each a piece of paper and asks them to cut a hole big enough to walk through. (You and I know where this is going, but Mike and Nora and eight and have never encountered this trick.) Nora actually gives up as it's impossible, but Mike manages to think outside the box and (after several pieces of paper, Mr. Zerlin seems to have infinite patience.) manages to cut the paper so it can be opened wide enough to walk through.

Zerlin teaches him a floating cup trick and Mike discovers there's something he CAN focus his attention on. Now can he get his parents to understand and let him keep doing magic?

There's a bully who tricks Mike into betting, and losing a quarter and Mike uses the "Vanishing Coin" trick of the title to cause the quarter to vanish. Later, with a five dollar bill that Nora has, he makes the quarter reappear and freaks the bully out. A throw away line leads me to wonder if we're going to see more character development with the bully and is he going to actually become a friend over the course of the series.

There does appear to be "real" magic that happens from time to time and Zerlin always seems to be around when they happen. The aforementioned five dollar bills that Mike and Nora find in their pockets (Mike thinks he sees Zerlin driving by just as Nora discovers hers in her pocket.) And when it turns out they need change for a pay phone, Mike reaches into his pocket for the five he borrowed from Nora, only to find a fistful of quarters! Also at one point in the story, Zerlin is closing up the shop when Mike comes in to ask about magic books and Zerlin, without waiting for Mike to say anything, pushes a book in his hand and say; "I think you want this." but Mike also learns some stage magic. Each trick that he learns is given a page of description and illustration.

I've only read the first one, but I think this would be a good intro into magic for a very young reader.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
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I do have to say that I developed an intuitive feel for relativity in college physics by reading successively more and more difficult books on the subject, starting with the most elementary ones from the children's section and working my way through the ones that required higher math (Calculus).
Salguod Nairb
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Room 101
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We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness...
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La Famiglia
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Cool stuff, Ed...thanks.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

" we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
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