Children's Toy & Media Reviews Since 1978

Abracadabra! 9 Ways to Play on Magic Day!


Magic: Onyx Edition

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $59.95

Thames & Kosmos has created an extensive and entertaining introductory magic set in Magic: Onyx Edition. This set includes everything necessary to perform 200 classic tricks/illusions, and it is presented in such a way that even an 8-year-old’s performance is relatively convincing.

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Telepathy Magic Minds

Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: MIGHTY FUN!
Price: $25.00

This is a game of guesswork packaged with a process of elimination. It’s fun and intense, takes only about 20 minutes, and puts logical deduction and memory skills into action.

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Illusionology: The Secret Science of Magic by Albert Schafer

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

This book 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 Written and organized from the perspective of a master magician’s scrapbook, it is full of handwritten notes, historical references, newspaper clippings, and images.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.

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Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $29.95

This magic set is for children aged six years and up, and contains forty-four props and a fully-illustrated, 20-page instruction manual for performing thirty-five magic tricks. Children can learn a variety of hat tricks, coin tricks, ball tricks, and so forth to perform for their friends and family. The materials themselves are well-made and the instruction manual easy-to-read and simple-to-follow.

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Ages: 10 – 14 yrs.
Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Publisher: Scholastic
Hardcover Price: $19.99

This sweeping historical novel offers young history buffs three separate eras to sink into, each one anchored by a compelling character and story. In the forests of Germany, three princesses are unjustly exiled by their father and exploited by a selfish witch; but they do not lose hope, and they sing beautifully to keep up their spirits. Just as they are about to gain their freedom, the witch traps their voices in a magic harmonica. The princesses’ souls must remain within the harmonica, lending it their voices, until the harmonica is passed to someone who needs help and salvation. Only then will the princesses be released to resume their lives.

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Just Add Magic

Ages: 6 – 11 yrs.
Producer: Amazon Studios
Rating: TV Y7

This half-hour live-action fantasy series, available through Amazon Video, revolves around ‘tween friends Kelly, Darbie, and Hannah. When the trio stumbles upon an ancient cookbook, they’re intrigued by the unusual recipe titles (for example, “Shut ’em Up Shortcake) and the supply of hard-to-come-by ingredients packed in the box with the book. They soon realize they’re whipping up more than tasty treats; these recipes actually cast spells, and for a group of middle school girls, that’s both an awesome power and an awesome responsibility.

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Top That

Ages: 7 & Up
Manufacturer: Blue Orange Games
Price: $19.99

This fun, fast-paced game requires and engages the brain’s executive functioning, the basis for attention, concentration, planning, decision-making, and problem-solving. Players must quickly and correctly scan all the objects, mentally categorize and physically arrange them. Phew! Brain fitness and fun. And each player gets a magician’s black top hat and a set of props!

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Rabbit in the Hat Puppet

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Folkmanis, Inc.
Price: $15.00

The Rabbit in the Hat is irresistible to anthropomorphic storytellers, or just plain snugglers.

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The Blackthorn Key

Ages: 10 – 14 yrs.
Author: Kevin Sands
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hardcover Price: $17.99

Christopher Rowe is the young apprentice of a master apothecary in 17th-century London. The apothecaries are an elite and mysterious group, with recipes and potions and magical cures for practically anything. So why are these healers are being murdered?

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