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The world of science is often described as magical -- but is magic itself scientific? You bet!

Once again award-winning author Helaine Becker teams up with illustrator Claudia Dávila to unleash her special brand of humor and information on young readers. Magic Up Your Sleeve is the third book in the loosely constructed series of science activity books from the pair; it follows hot on the heels of NAPPA-winning Science on the Loose and 2009's The Insecto-files. Only this time around, the duo reveals the science hidden in magic tricks!

Helaine uses dozens of activities to show how the world of magic manipulates simple scientific principles of illusion and perception to leave audiences baffled. Each activity has been tested, is clearly explained, and designed to provide quick results using a handful of common household materials. Helaine even includes a difficulty rating beside each trick to help young magicians decide where to begin.


"Scintillating Science. Helaine Becker's Magic Up Your Sleeve blends directions for audience-wowing magic tricks with brief explanations of the scientific facts behind each and every show-stopping ta-da. Utilizing common household items, the offerings include cognitive and optical illusions, examples of math "magic," and wonders based on physics and chemistry concepts. Other spreads focus on the history of magic, famous practitioners, and tips for putting on the perfect performance.

The breezy narrative tone and colorful digital cartoons keep the content light and the science easy to swallow. Invite students to polish up their magic wands, boggle their friends' minds with their presentations, and use online and print resources to further investigate what makes seeminlgy impossible feats possible."

- School Library Journal; Crafts Fun and Games Spotlight

" Budding magicians will be delighted by this new addition to the genre. Thirty tricks are presented covering optical illusions, mind reading, "math magic," chemistry, and physics. All directions are clear and easy to follow. Interesting tidbits as well as a cogent explanation of how the tricks work appear in separate text boxes. The digital cartoon illustrations are nicely executed and add flashes of humor to each of the scenarios. Information is also provided on the history of magic, famous hoaxes, performance tips, and the science concepts explored in the various tricks. A welcome addition that should vanish off library shelves."

             — School Library Journal

“You control the forces of the universe!” begins this upbeat introduction to magic that slyly folds science and math concepts into clearly explained tricks with lively names, such as “Give It Up for Gravity!” Each lively spread, illustrated with digitally rendered cartoons, begins with step-by-step instructions for carrying out the tricks, most involving common household items; and the added script suggestions for what to say, as well as what to do, are particularly welcome. Also included on each spread are “What’s Going On” text boxes that discuss concepts (“Geometry is your secret assistant in this trick”), as well as interesting related facts, often displayed in colorful text balloons. Becker shows that young people’s ingenuity has long contributed to magic history: in 1869, for example, a 16-year-old American discovered that lemon juice could be used to make invisible ink. Teachers may want to borrow ideas for interactive classroom fun, while a closing “Magician’s Survival Guide” offers tips for putting together an independent show. Fun and instructive for a wide age range of aspiring illusionists.

            - Booklist

"If you know any budding prestidigitators, you’ll want to make sure that this fabulous new book by Helaine Becker appears in their hands as soon as possible. Because as fast as you can say abracadabra, they’ll be on their way to amusing you with new tricks, as well as amazing you with facts about the science behind the magic.

    Using nothing but basic household items, such as coins, cards and cups, young readers will quickly be able to perform any of the 30 impressive illusions. All tricks are clearly explained with easy-to-follow instructions and have been assigned a difficulty rating of one, two or three wands. The scientific principle that is being manipulated to create each illusion of magic is also entertainingly explained in a “What’s Going On?” sidebar. Novice magicians will experiment with optical illusions, air pressure, gravity and many other science concepts in a thoroughly engaging, hands-on way as they master each trick. In addition, all tricks are indexed at the back of the book by title as well as by concept. To round out each section of the book, there are intriguing pages about magic through the ages, magical mysteries in nature and famous magicians of the past, all light-heartedly presented with wit and humour.

    Although none of the tricks in this book are particularly hard, some do require a bit more preparation and practice than others. The payoff will be well worth it, though, when the assembled audience starts to ooh and aah and shout, “How did you do that?!” This would be a good time for the performer to point out that a magician never reveals his or her secrets, as detailed in the final chapter of the book, the Magician’s Survival Guide. In this section, readers will find encouraging words about practicing, great tips for adding polish to an act so it really dazzles and the requisite oath that a magician must make to never reveal how a trick is done.

    Part of the magic of this book is definitely the art work. Claudia Dávila’s playful and fun illustrations are the perfect match for Becker’s humor-filled writing style. The book is a joy to read and would make an excellent addition to any home or school library. It is sure to be on loan often, though, so don’t be surprised if it seems like your copy of Magic Up Your Sleeve has disappeared!"

Highly Recommended.---4 out of 4 stars!

- CM Magazine

"Good, even great at times, generally useful!

Similar in format and appeal to their earlier books, Science on the Loose and The Insecto-files, Helaine Becker and Claudia Davila have produced another fascinating book that allows young magicians to learn twenty three magic tricks and the science and secrets behind them. Each trick is rated as to difficulty, with a list of required items, before detailed step-by-step instructions that lead the magician through learning the procedure. All the required materials are readily available household items."

    - Resource Links

In Magic Up Your Sleeve..there is the WOW factor but also the “how did they do that?” and any kid ( or children’s book-reading adult) even remotely captivated by magic and it’s no trick! Instead Becker and Dávila serve up an act that is filled to the brim with original, easy and inventive magic tricks using some basic principles of science along with simple household items!

I love the step-by-step guidelines to each trick and the explanation of how it works, I love the colourful and cartoonish images and I love the magician prep at the end of this great book! I especially loved the bits of historical information peppered throughout that really put the fun into science….er….I mean magic!...This book is better than pulling a rabbit out of hat as it will bring any 8 to 12-year-old countless hours of fun at a fraction of the cost of a video game!"
     - Word of Mouse Book Reviews

"With simple step-by-step instructions, your little Houdini can learn how to conjure up some magic of his own. All of the awe-inspiring illusions use only basic household items. Crammed with fascinating science facts and a magician's survival guide, it's all he'll need to wow his audience."

  - Canadian Family

"Another fantastic boredom buster book from author Helaine Becker filled with the colorful eye-catching illustrations of Claudia Davila. Who doesn't like magic tricks, illusions and quirky science facts? I loved books like this when I was a kid and my kids do too...

Every time my kids pick up this book they can spend hours doing the tricks. It even inspired my daughter to put on a magic show, replete with the magician's kit--hat, magic wand, cape and table. Not only does the book show you how to do the tricks, but it also explains how or why the tricks work. It equips a kid to wow their friends. As I watch my kids having fun doing the tricks, that is, assembling all the supplies they need (yes, my kitchen table can look messy afterwards!) it relieves me that they are learning and discovering new things, and keeping busy rather than watching TV, which I try to keep to a minimum.

Interspersed throughout the book are fun facts about the topic that makes up the magic trick. For example, for Flower Power, which is a trick that makes flowers grow, there is a fun fact about bamboos, stating that they grow so quickly you can actually hear it getting taller! Certain species can grow as much as 121 cm in one day.

As you can see, kids will learn many new things while having fun doing their tricks. An excellent book for the kid who likes to keep busy doing super fun stuff. Highly recommended!"

- Library of Clean Reads

Mapletree Press/Owlkids Books ISBN:978-1897349762