Little Magic Shop of Horrors by AG Cascone

(Deadtime Stories, #6)

Peter buys a magic kit in a strange little magic shop and becomes 'Peter the Great.' Now he can do tricks even Houdini couldn't perform! The only problem is, Peter can't undo the tricks. But that doesn't bother him too much. Not until he wins the talent show-by taking off his best friend's head!

This book, oh-so-clearly written for young adults in elementary school and Junior high level, was part of the Christmas collection I purchased for my son last year.

I have to say that most of the time when I read Goosebumps and such, the age level bugs me sometimes, but this book was completely FUN. Really. I didn't care for it as much as Grandpa's Monster Movies, but between that one and this, I'm convinced Deadtime stories is a good series from Cascone for the genre.

Despite it being geared toward youth, I think what I find so enjoyable about these fast, simple stories is the hilarity. Unlike Goosebumps, they don't end on eye-rolling cliffhangers every short chapter, and instead the author seems to focus on humor and sarcastic smart-alec kids with bad luck. In both books I've literally laughed out loud, so they are cute boosts to the mood.

Story-wise this one was clever - two pals get more than they bargained for with a mischievous magic shop that has dire consequences in store. They wish to win the school talent show to win bikes, but also to up the local school drama queen. Of course things keep going terribly wrong, including turning the eccentric grandmother's cat, Tiger, into an actual Tiger. Fun stuff.

There's always something going on for these kids with bad luck. They're typical boys who are competitive, sneaky, and sometimes selfish. The antics are hilarious though and it's a tame book violence-wise, so parents shouldn't object with their kiddies who crave this sort of story. Adults will have fun if this is laying around close to, as it's short, to the point, genuinely funny, and a quick read that reminds you of some of the magics associated with childhood.

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