Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: The Return of Abracadabra by Michael Dahl


After fifty years, the master magician Abracadabra has returned to the hotel that bears his name. But so has his greatest rival - the Grat and Powerful Theopolis. In this second book in Michael Dahl's masterful, magical mystery series, nothing is quite what it seems . . . and magic waits through every doorway.
From the Hocus Pocus Hotel series. For ages 8-12.
* 2nd book in this magical series
* Readers find out the true identity of Brack, the hotel elevator operator
* Real magic tricks are uncovered and explained throughout the story
* Bonus story available at
About the Author:
Michael Dahl is the author of more than 200 books for children and young adults. He has won the AEP Distinguished Achievement Award three times for his nonfiction. His Finnegan Zwake mystery series was shortlisted twice by the Anthony and Agatha Awards. He has also written the Library of Doom series and the Dragonblood books. He is a featured speaker at conferences around the country on graphic novels and high-interest books for boys.
About the Illustrator:
Lisa K. Weber is an illustrator who lives and works in California's Bay Area. Her whimsically twisted characters and illustrations have appeared in various books, including The Ogre of Oglefort and The Sisters 8 series. She has also created comic adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's Hop-Frog and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, featured in Graphic Classics, as well as Pecos Bill and The Bremen Town Musicians for Stone Arch Books.

This book contains two of the most fun "M"s that a children's book can have: mystery and magic.

In The Return of Abracadabra, there are two mysteries. First is the mystery of a disappearing child. The second mystery is how an illusionist was able to perform an amazing and complicated trick. Ty and Charlie, two young boys who have solved mysteries at the Abracadabra Hotel before will try to find out what's going on at the hotel.

I really liked this book. Even though it's not that hard to guess the answer to the mysteries, what's amazing about this book is that the details, the characters and the pacing work together in such a way that even if you've already figured out what's going on, you don't really care because you're so entertained by everything else that's going on.

The two characters who really got my attention in this book is Charlie and Brack. Charlie is really smart but he's not an annoying know-it-all. Brack, aside from the fact that I always say "Barack" in my head when I read his name, is like that lovable grandfather who knows a lot of magic tricks.

The book is peppered with full-color anime-style illustrations and the pages are colored light brown, like parchment. Even the font used looks like it belongs in a book about magic. Strangely enough, I didn't see any quotation marks at all throughout the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Stone Arch Books for the e-ARC. Publication date of The Return of Abracadabra is on February 1, 2013.


  1. The illustrations and coloring of the book bring the book to life.
  2. The protagonists are likable.
  3. The plot is very entertaining.


  1. Some might find the mystery to be too easy to solve.

He carried a staff, like some ancient wizard.

  1. You like magic.
  2. Your child likes mystery books.
  3. Your child thinks magicians are cool.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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