Abracadabra: The Story of Magic Through the Ages

illus. by Aleksey Ivanov & Olga Ivanov. 176p. further reading. index. Holt. Nov. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780312593216.
Gr 5–8—Newquist presents a thorough history of magicians and their feats. He traces the subject from the earliest known tricks by the ancient Egyptian Dedi to those by today's David Blaine and refers to famous (Merlin, Harry Houdini) and lesser-known performers (Giuseppe Pinetti, John Henry Anderson) alike. Interspersed between chapters are directions for executing various tricks and descriptions of the many devices employed to create the illusions. This offering stands out from similar books because of the amount of material it provides about various conjurers, illusionists, and mind readers. Newquist does not hesitate to give away trade secrets but also admits that there are some tricks that no one has yet figured out. Detailed black-and-white illustrations complement the text. Though this volume lacks the colorful illustrations found in Patrice Sherman's The Secret, Mystifying, Unusual History of Magic (Capstone, 2010) and Peter Eldin's Magic (Kingfisher, 1997), it's well written and should appeal to readers with a passion for the subject.
VERDICT A good choice for libraries where there is a demand for in-depth information on magic and where existing titles focus on performing tricks.

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