Twelve-year-old Alex was taught illusion by the best. MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON is the story of Alexander Finn’s personal journey dealing with the death of his father, a celebrated magician, and the extraordinary gift he left behind.
Uprooted from his childhood home for the seemingly hokey town of Orchard, Maine, Alex refuses to unpack and wants nothing to do with his new surroundings. But when he discovers an unusual deck of animated cards tucked in the back of his father’s old desk, things begin to unravel and Alex’s true adventure begins.
Whether you’re a budding magician, a pro, or if you just love stories about the endless possibilities magic can offer, Alex’s heartfelt yet unexpected misadventures will take you on a journey you will never forget!
“Kutscera has written a serious work of magic realism exploring relevant and contemporary themes. The prose and dialogue are polished and the plot, though straightforward, builds steadily toward an age-suitable climax. Though the bullying Alex suffers is of the endemic, senseless variety, it is not too distressing. Young readers are invited to relate to Alex—to his troubles and feelings—and yet allowed to delight in the courtly good nature and whimsy of the cards. The minor characters (particularly Alex’s mom and his classmate Lindsay) are given deft touches of individuality. The author’s full-page pencil drawings effectively capture Alex’s washed-out despair.
A heartfelt, somber story skillfully infused with magic and adventure.”
– Kirkus Review
“What could have been a singular story of a boy’s special talents thus evolves into an unusual exploration of the roots of magic, ability, and support systems that come into play when loss changes one’s familiar life patterns…
Readers who choose the book anticipating a dose of magical encounters will not be disappointed, while those who like interpersonal relationships, intrigue, and growth as subplots in their stories will find Misadventures of a Magician’s Son holds an action-packed touch of all three to keep readers guessing about Alex’s future and incredible adventure, right up to the end.”
—Diane Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Misadventures of a Magician’s Son is just what you want from a middle school novel; it has a great plot, unexpected twists and turns, great characters, and it keeps you guessing as to what is next. It is a fresh and original story that kept me turning the pages. I can guarantee my middle school students will enjoy it and want a sequel! Jaybirder
We all need a little magic right now, and Laurie Smollett Kutscera delivers with her fast-paced imaginative adventure, Misadventures of a Magician’s Son. Alex Finn has lost his father and his home, and with moving boxes piled up around him, it seems his fortunes have hit rock bottom. That is, until he discovers a magical deck of cards hidden inside his father’s desk! King Anton, Queen Olivia, and the reluctant Jack of the Royal Hearts family want nothing more than to help Alex follow in his father’s footsteps as a master of illusion. But the theft of his faithful friends keeps Alex spinning, even as he joins forces with an unlikely crew of assistants, including a Chihuahua named Ferdinand, a reformed Joker, a local girl named Lindsay, and the spitball throwing star of the football team. Twists and turns will keep the reader guessing–and chuckling–until the final page. SR Birder
Mystery, talking playing cards, and tension. Great combination. What I like most about this book is that the plot is easy for young middle grade readers to follow. Nothing complicated, just enjoyable as you go along with Alex in search of his missing deck of cards, feeling his guilt and grief, and his determination to make things right for everyone. Well done! N. Poper
The name of the book “Misadventures of a Magician’s Son” pulled me right in and the writing, magic and illustration kept me entranced throughout. Laurie Smollett Kutscera does an impeccable job of combining magic, adventure, fantasy, intrigue and the love between a son and his deceased father. A must read for all middle graders. SL
Laurie Kutscera’s mystery has elements of heartache, surprise, friendship, and humor. Readers will root for the story’s main character, Alexander Finn, as he finds a way to make his world right again after a tragic event. This magical story is sure to become a favorite. Jan S
I loved this story! It’s a mix of magic, mystery, fantasy, and realistic fiction. R. Beach
You’ll never look at a deck of cards the same! Don’t hesitate to get this book and immerse yourself in the magic! Mary V
This book is funny and poignant, I recommend it to all kids. Sarah H.
INTRODUCING JOEL GOLDMAN, MAGICIAN EXTRAORDINAIRE!
One of the joys of writing MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON was delving into the art of magic. Enter Joel Goldman, magician extraordinaire. I spent many hours working with Joel, studying his technique and learning his craft. I was mesmerized watching his variety of shuffles, fans and sleight of hand maneuvers. Alexander Finn is a remarkable 12 year old magician, thanks to Joel.
I am thrilled he had the time to answer all my questions here. But WAIT…THERE’S MORE! Joel has allowed me to share this amazing You Tube video of him performing in Central Park. WOW! What a treat!
AND NOW, HERE’S MY INTERVIEW WITH JOEL…
Joel, it was such a wonderful experience working with you while I was researching magic card tricks for MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON. You were quite adept back then at age 15. How old were you when you became interested in performing magic?
Thanks Laurie, I enjoyed working with you too. So, I became interested in magic when I was four-years-old.
What about magic appealed to you?
For me, each trick was a little puzzle to solve.
That makes perfect sense. I know your Dad is a big fan of puzzles too. Was this something you both connected with?
Absolutely. I loved puzzles, and still do. I think a lot of the things I learned while doing magic over the years have helped me throughout my life and now in my professional career. Thinking like a magician is a valuable skill especially when it comes to problem solving.
What kind of tricks did you start with?
I would try everything and see what worked. The things that didn’t work I would practice and improve on. The things that did work, I would try to make even better.
Can you give an example of one of the tricks that worked and one that didn’t, or took a while?
Some beginner coin magic, like a French drop, came really easy to me, but as I moved into more advanced coin magic routines like hanging coins, I really struggled. It was sometimes difficult, but I continued to practice and push through, and ask others for help.
Tell us about this performance.
This was just a photo shoot. Magic came with celebrity status even at a young age. HAHAHA!
Were there any magicians that inspired you? Has that changed?
Tons of magicians, I’d read and watch anything I could get my hands on. I’d think, what makes this magician so great, and I’d try to emulate it.
Can you give us an example of a magician you admired and what he specifically did that challenged you?
Penn & Teller are incredible performers to watch. They just captivate the audience and take you on a journey. For card manipulation, I am a huge fan of Kostya Kimlat and Joshua Jay, and no your name does not have to have alliteration in order to be a magician.
How did you learn to do card manipulations? Did you do any exercises to prepare?
I’d say learning to become a magician is an exercise in will-power and determination. Even while doing homework or sitting at the dinner table, I’d have a deck of cards in my hands practicing specific moves. Its all about Practice. Practice. Practice! From an author’s perspective, this was such an important element to include when building Alex’s character.
How long did it take you to really master your array of card tricks and flourishes?
Depends on the trick or flourish. Some, like a double lift came easy with a few hours, others like a second deal or bottom deal took weeks.
Is there a specific card trick or tricks you perform that get the most reaction?
This is a pretty common question, and it has a fairly interesting answer. I’d say any effect, even the simplest ones can have incredible reactions- it’s all about the presentation. For example, I’ve seen the reversed card blow people’s minds, and that’s a trick you could teach a five-year-old in an hour.
Have you ever created your own card tricks or manipulations?
Absolutely, and that’s probably one of my favorite things to do. Take pieces of tricks you already know, and recombine them in a different way to create something entirely new.
What advice do you have for aspiring young magicians?
If you want to sharpen your skills PRACTICE! Practice in front of the mirror so you can see what your audience is seeing.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your expertise with us. Here’s an illustration from the book of Alex Finn performing one of Joel’s amazing shuffles!
MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON, published by Blue Whale Press, will be available on April 1st. To learn more about Alexander Finn and his remarkable adventures pre-order now, or you can request it from your local library!
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