The (Fairly) Magic Show and Other Stories by Rob Keeley

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The (Fairly) Magic Show and Other Stories by Rob Keeley

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Funny and beautifully-observed set of short stories for middle readers. They've all got a twist in the tale and will be enjoyed by child, parent and teacher alike. Rob Keeley popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: November 2012
Publisher: Matador
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1780883013

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Hooray! Rob Keeley has written a second book of short stories. We really enjoyed the first one here at Bookbag Towers, so we were really looking forward to reading the second.

The title story deals with sibling jealousy. You should always watch the quiet ones, you know. Show-off Stuart turns out to be no match for picked-on Molly. In The School VIP we get to criticise teachers. Always a good thing! Even when she knows someone in her classroom has a stellar future ahead, she still can't see which one it could be. Take note, teachers: potential is everywhere, and it's your job to spot it! Spot the Difference cleverly exposes the hypocrisy of adults. We wrinklies aren't so different from our children and it behoves us to remember that. It doesn't hurt to let them know we're not perfect either.

Snowed In made me laugh. It's (rather kindly) pointing out that the only time a sulker spoils is their own. The New Pupil is all about temptation. Doing good really is its own reward but it doesn't always feel like it. And that's when temptation rears its ugly head. Skip It was really quite creepy. When Oliver gets a magic skipping rope and finds he can skip right past unpleasant events such as visits to the dentist, he really takes things too far...

Only a Story is all about cheating. And cheats never prosper, no matter how "good" they think their reason for cheating was. In Christmas Shopping, Liam is being mean and selfish with money he hasn't even saved or earned himself. Don't worry: he gets his just desserts. It's peace on Earth to men of good will, not peace on Earth and good will to men in this story. Ha. See what I did there?! And the final story, My World is just lovely. It's all about imagination and having the courage to let other people be who they be. It's a fitting end to a lovely selection of stories.

These stories are all beautifully observed. You can see and recognise peer group interaction, classroom interaction and family relationships. The emotional landscape here will be familiar to every reader. Each story has a twist in the tale. Some twists are funny and some are quite creepy. Some are easier to see coming than others. There's a lot of humour running through the book too - not least some rather clever schadenfreude for children to enjoy - fun is poked at mean kids, bullying kids and, most especially, teachers. The vocabulary is also nicely judged - stretching but never intimidating.

Once again, Rob Keeley has really hit the spot with a well-judged and entertaining anthology for middle readers.

You should also look at Rob's previous book of short stories - The Alien in the Garage and Other Stories by Rob Keeley. We also love Singing for Mrs Pettigrew by Michael Morpurgo, whose tales are wise and inspirational. Slightly-younger children will enjoy My Favourite People by Rob Keeley.

Bookinterviews.jpg Rob Keeley was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

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Buy The (Fairly) Magic Show and Other Stories by Rob Keeley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The (Fairly) Magic Show and Other Stories by Rob Keeley at

You can read more about Rob Keeley here.


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