Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Illusionology: The Secret Science of Magic by Albert Schafer

Illusionology: The Secret Science of Magic by Albert Schafer

Spring 2012 Fiction
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Albert Scafer
Illustrator: Levi Pinfold
Illustrator: Tomislav Tomic
Illustrator: David Wyatt
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763655884
Hardcover Price: $19.99

Illusionology, written by Albert Schafer and illustrated by David Wyatt and Levi Pinfold, is a rich and multilayered introduction into the world of magic tricks and the exploration of the history of illusions. Written and organized from the perspective of a master magician's scrapbook, it is full of handwritten notes, historical references, newspaper clippings, and images. This scrapbook motif is supported by a treasure trove of "pop up" like fold-outs, and interactive mini articles hidden behind trap doors and envelope pockets. In addition, there are a number of simple magic tricks and illusions for the reader to explore through supplied materials like trick playing cards, optical illusion cards, and more. Combine all of these elements and you have an exciting collection of history and do-it-yourself magic trick material that will keep any young reader coming back. Highlights are the historical accounts of lesser-known magicians. There are plenty of familiar Houdini references, but readers will also learn about famous magicians from Ancient Egypt.

The fictional "master magician's scrapbook" approach keeps kids intrigued and will make them feel as though they are exploring a secret society's files. The construction of the book is durable, and there are convenient pockets to hide and keep all of the included pieces. The illustrations are an appropriate mix of life-like drawings and ornate illustrations designed to resemble historical photographs. It is definitely "busy" with multiple things happening on every spread, but it is a lot of fun to explore. The magic trick instructions and included materials combine to make this a prized possession begging to be snuck to school in a backpack and unveiled to impress friends over a lunch table.

Ryan Patterson   ©2012 Parents' Choice

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