New member looking for book recommendations (etc) for very bright 12 y.o. as intro to magic

Oct 4, 2022
24
9
Best books on coins, cards and general magic in Spanish or English for a very bright young lad?

I need some gifts for a lad (11-1/2) who is exceptionally bright, loves reading (reading level =age 17+ in English, 12 in Spanish, and 8 in Chinese), and who 1–2 years ago enjoyed a typical cheap kids’ magic kit with a plastic ball and cup trick etc., but they were limiting; not repeatable much in front of the same small audience, who will always be close family and a couple friends in the foreseeable future due to homeschooling and epidemic quarantine in a top COVID-19 nation with an immuno-compromised parent.

I thought that a few gifts this Halloween (cancelled due to epidemic), Christmas, on Dia de los Reyes, and his next birthday would be nice to move him further along in less childish magic (i.e. not just more of the very cheapest magic wands, loaded dice and plastic ball and cup tricks, although suggestions on a few particularly cool such items or an excellent starter set would also be welcome if not as cheap and basic as what he got before, and with more potential to grow into and keep learning). Something not childish, but still easy, and with items allowing for flexibility and growth in the art, like coins and cards (rather than *only* a few fixed gag items which, after using once on his friends and family would just gather dust). Bad ideas (for not being repeatable) are e.g. just a one-way forced deck with only one pick-a-card trick, whether straight or Svengali (I am not a magician so my statements like this are based on a couple weeks’ of intensive online reading and my conclusions could be off; please feel free to correct me). Stripper, marked, stacked (ordered) and Invis, and books that teach many tricks with ordinary objects seem more repeatable to this layperson.

I might even get into this, as all the reading has started fascinating me. I’m thinking of getting him some of the following, and more later if he gets into it, but what I really need most is a good suggestion on, in particular, two to three books (not videos) suitable for older children or teens (e.g. age 12-16), possibly one on coin tricks (I’m thinking Bobo?), one intro-level one on card tricks not involving TOO much sleight of hand (although teaching some basics in that too, not just self-performing tricks, would be nice), and/or one that combines these plus other miscellaneous magic for a small, close-up, repeat audience (distance 1-2 meters), but a book with more than just 20-30 tricks in it. I just have no idea about books on these latter two (card tricks and general magic), and there is a dizzying array out there, so I really need some suggestions. Although I realize some great magicians have put together very good videos which may explain better than any book can, books (G or PG) are in general better than videos in this case, as he is allowed only limited screen time, and won’t want his little bother peering over his shoulder watching videos that reveal secrets. But I wouldn’t turn down links to free videos I can pass along. Books can be in Spanish or English. (Or VERY simple traditional-character Mandarin.)

To support skills and tricks taught in the books, I can also purchase any subset (but not ALL, due to budget; limit is around US$150 total) of the following, which I think I understand after some reading, as needed to support any book instructions: one each of Stripper, Invisible, regular and marked, a couple of one-way decks for spare cards for tearing up, transporting etc., and a few individual trick cards available locally at a mere US 30¢ each (double-back, red-blue double back, double face, blank back or face, etc.). I could be wrong, but a Svengali deck sounds too limiting, not repeatable on the same gang.

I love DIY and can rig a trimmer and corner rounder kit to make e.g. a custom Stripper deck, or buy a Neo V2 roughing stick to make e.g. Invis decks from favorite themed decks (Star Wars, Minecraft or D&D), say, a matching pair or trio of Mandalorian decks, one regular, one Stripper; one Invis) to add to the attraction and surprise (you wouldn’t expect Star Wars cards to come gimmicked, right? And he’ll have one inspectable deck to go with the trick deck (s). Adhesive gel (Octopalm) is also an option.

Let me emphasize repeatability. Although a color change kit (normal, all blue, with one forced card, then you turn the whole deck to the forced card, then the whole deck turns red, whatever that one’s called) is serious wow factor, but if my inferences about its mechanics are right, it can only be done once on an audience, is easily revealed through a careless slip when letting specs peep at the ‘chosen card’ or an overly wide reverse spread, and would not be cost-effective in this case.

So, opinions on all of that are welcome, or links to existing threads already covering it, but primarily I need suggestions on the books (Spanish is best but English is perfectly fine). Nothing *too* pricey individually for the books, as I’ll also be buying a fair bit of hardware; total budget is only about US$150. If there’s learning sleight of hand involved, that’s great but it’s gotta be kept very simple at first; he might not excel at that. OTOH he’s VERY bright and could probably learn Mnemonica (etc.) a LOT faster than most of us, so any one ordered and numbered deck system sounds like an excellent option. Many thanks in advance for any ideas and advice! On themes, he loves Starwars, Lego, Minecraft, pre-Cambrian and Cambrian fossils, and dinos.
PS -- A few gag items for his baby bother (8) so HE can do a few trick too would also be nice if you have ideas. I’m thinking exploding dice, and I’ve already located a dino-themed Stripper deck; he loves dinos, ninjago, Minecraft, transformers, minerals, and Ladybug Miraculous, LOL.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,686
4,014
New Jersey
Wow. That's a lot to take in. My advice is to take it slow and let his interest dictate purchases.

What I really need most is a good suggestion on, in particular, two to three books (not videos) suitable for older children or teens.

Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic - This book covers everything and has step by step instructions. From the 1970's but the methods are legitimate. If you want something more up to date, get Joshua Jay's Complete Course in Magic. My preference is Wilson'g book.

Scarne on Card Tricks - Over 100 Mostly Self-Working Card Tricks. There are a lot of really good ones in there. This is from the 1950s, so some of the presentation is dated. The methods are generally good. There are some great effects in there.

Bobo's Modern Coin Magic - This is a great source for coin magic.

Card College - Volumes 1 and 2 - Best Course for Sleight of Hand (available in multiple languages)

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks - Self Working but also a lot of "gaffed" magic. A bit dated since it is from the 1940's but the best source for ideas with double backers and double facers.

I can also purchase any subset (but not ALL, due to budget; limit is around US$150 total) of the following, which I think I understand after some reading, as needed to support any book instructions: one each of Stripper, Invisible, regular and marked, a couple of one-way decks for spare cards for tearing up, transporting etc., and a few individual trick cards available locally at a mere US 30¢ each (double-back, red-blue double back, double face, blank back or face, etc.). I could be wrong, but a Svengali deck sounds too limiting, not repeatable on the same gang.

A stripper deck is good to begin with but if he learns some basic card controls (from Card College) he can do without. Invisible Deck is fun, but it really is just one effect that isn't necessary. No need to get a marked deck - its uses are limited. By one-way, I think you mean a deck where all the cards are the same. Again, skip it and get a couple Pinochle decks which have multiples of all the good cards.

Get the double back cards (B/B, R/R and R/B) a couple of double faced cards (different both sides) as well as a red and blue blank face card. That price is a good price. Encyclopedia of Card Tricks has effects for the double backers and double facers. A Svengali has a couple of uses beyond the typical, but again, you could skip it.

I love DIY and can rig a trimmer and corner rounder kit to make e.g. a custom Stripper deck, or buy a Neo V2 roughing stick to make e.g. Invis decks from favorite themed decks (Star Wars, Minecraft or D&D), say, a matching pair or trio of Mandalorian decks, one regular, one Stripper; one Invis) to add to the attraction and surprise (you wouldn’t expect Star Wars cards to come gimmicked, right?

A DIY Stripper deck is typically a lot better than most of the store bought ones in that you can make the trimmed portions thinner and the store bought ones don't really round the corner. Time consuming but worth it. I'd avoid making your own Invisible Deck. It is a lot of work for what really is just one trick. This is coming from experience.

Although a color change kit (normal, all blue, with one forced card, then you turn the whole deck to the forced card, then the whole deck turns red, whatever that one’s called) is serious wow factor, but if my inferences about its mechanics are right, it can only be done once on an audience,

I don't have that but I think your inferences are right.

[A]lthough suggestions on a few particularly cool such items or an excellent starter set would also be welcome if not as cheap and basic as what he got before

Sponge balls. Get the 2 inch size in his favorite color.

Coin Shell for a Quarter or similar sized coin. I prefer Roy Keuppers shells. Bobo has routines for using the shell including a great coins through table routine.

A few gag items for his baby bother (8) so HE can do a few trick too would also be nice if you have ideas.

Imp Bottle
Drawer Box
Ball Vase

I'd be glad to talk more about this, show you the books or demonstrate some of the effects. Feel free to message me by starting a "conversation."
 
Oct 4, 2022
24
9
RealityOne, many thanks for your generous and detailed reply, as well as your offer to show the books or demonstrate some effects! Your reply really helps pare down the list of ideas I had, which is part of what I needed, and your idea to take is slow sounds like good wisdom. What do you think of the utility of stacked, ordered decks like Mnemonica? Also, is a roughing stick still useful if you're not making an Invis deck?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gabriel Z.

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,686
4,014
New Jersey
What do you think of the utility of stacked, ordered decks like Mnemonica? Also, is a roughing stick still useful if you're not making an Invis deck?

Mnemonica is a great tool. The book by Juan Tamaraz is great and provide a wonderful method for learning the stack. However, I wouldn't recommend it to someone younger because they should focus on self working effects and sleight of hand.

A roughing stick generally isn't useful unless you are making an Invisible Deck or a Brainwave Deck. There are some other decks out there that use the principle (e.g. Jim Steinmeyer's Khardova Deck or Billy McComb's McComical Deck) and some other effects that it can be used for. However, I would probably wait until you know what you need it for before getting it.
 
Searching...
{[{ searchResultsCount }]} Results