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Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Vanishing Coin (The Magic Shop #1) by Kate Egan, Eric Wight (Goodreads Author) (Illustrations), Magician Mike Lane

Mike needs drugs. I'm serious. Poor guy. He shows symptoms of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Okay... maybe drugs aren't the answer. In this case he needs magic. Magic tricks. Magic books. Magical moments. Ah yes, Mike is struggling in school. He can't control himself and is bullied by Jackson a kid twice his size and in his class. Mike can't understand why he just jumps up and has to move in class, but he does. He can no longer be on the soccer team because of his poor grades and he has low self-esteem. He ends up meeting Nora when their mom's decide to carpool and share watching each others kids after work. Mike discovers that Nora is quite smart, but she is also confident and kind. When the two go to a magic shop, Mike finds that he is not only good at magical tricks, he's better than Nora. He teaches himself how to perform and entertains other students at school making new friends and learning to believe in himself.

Students will love the inserts that explain how to do magic tricks. I thought this read would take me longer than 45 minutes, but the big font and illustrations make it a quickie. A magical twist at the end shows that this is the first book in a series. While Mike is a fourth grader, the book is also a good read for younger students.

I've seen ADHD handled in many ways and Mike doesn't really get good support or the adults don't seem to be giving him behavior strategies for dealing with it. Many times teachers will warn me if a kid with it is having a bad day and they torpedo around out-of-control. They get sent to the counselor's office where they can blow off some steam if it is really bad. Mike gets scolded and sent to the principal's office. At this point it has been identified that Mike had problems last year so it seems that the adults are not treating it as ADHD. But then no one ever says Mike has ADHD, that's just my interpretation of his symptoms. Mike is more of a borderline kid and says he can't control himself. Usually by 4th grade, kids have grown out of hyper, impulsive behavior which is why it seems that he has a disorder. The adults are not implementing any behavior interventions such as helping him stay organized and helping with a book report. It appears they think he can control himself and be more responsible. I'm not so sure. Mike's the kind of kid that falls through the cracks at school not getting the help he needs because he isn't severe enough, but he obviously needs help.

Nora helps Mike the most showing him one-on-one how to take notes on index cards and how to write a report for class on the magician Houdini. She takes his interest in magic and turns the homework into something doable for him. She even plays soccer with him to pick up his spirits one day. She's the voice of reason and becoming a friend he can count on. So much so that when his friends ask him to return to the soccer team, he isn't sure he wants to because it means not spending time after school with Nora. A good story for readers that are not ready for a challenging text but need some depth.

4 Smileys

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