The Peppers and the International Magic Guys by Sian Pattenden
|The Peppers and the International Magic Guys by Sian Pattenden|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Lively, magical adventure story with some real magic tricks to try out yourself!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: February 2012|
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Esme and Monty are the Pepper twins, and whilst their hippie parents are away on holiday 'reconnecting with nature' the twins are left with Uncle Potty who is a member of the International Magic Guys club. Unfortunately the club is threatened with closure, and the more nervous Uncle Potty becomes about the club's future the more disastrous his tricks are! Will he ever be able to perform in the show that must save the club?
Esme is the sensible twin, concerned about the damage that's happening to her family home with Uncle Potty's tricks going wrong all the time. Monty, meanwhile, is caught up in the world of magic having been given a magic book by Uncle Potty and practising as his assistant. Monty's book, Doctor Pompkins Totality Magic, is included within the story, with a small piece at the end of each chapter, so the reader is able to see what Doctor Pompkins says and some of the tricks he describes. It's clever Esme who decides they need a plan of some sort to rescue the club, which is made trickier thanks to one of the club rules that no children are allowed to perform or even to be inside the club's headquarters. Of course Esme and Monty end up sneaking in, and much trouble ensues!
The story is light-hearted and funny. There's lots of silliness included so it feels like a very safe, fun adventure story to read. There's always the sense that everything will, ultimately, work out okay. I liked the pacing of the story, and I felt particularly engaged towards the end, wondering how the book would conclude. Children often find the world of magic fascinating. I've watched my own daughter utterly transfixed in a live magic show where a real rabbit appeared from a magic box, so I think there's something appealing in a book that throws a couple of children right in the middle of a magic show! The story shows both the fun, performance side of things, from Monty's point of view, as well as the more technical, behind the scenes aspects from Esme's point of view.
Occasionally I did have the sense that the story didn't quite gel somehow. I've thought about what might be missing and it's hard to put my finger on it, but perhaps it was the fact that I didn't always quite believe in the characters. They took a while to seem like real people to me. It got better as the book went on though, and I'm sure upper primary school children will thoroughly enjoy it. The inclusion of sections from Doctor Pompkins magic book work well within the story, and the tricks look like they'd be fun to try!
Confident readers might also like to try Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Peppers and the International Magic Guys by Sian Pattenden at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Peppers and the International Magic Guys by Sian Pattenden at Amazon.com.
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