Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Vanishing Trick by Jenni Spangler & illustrated by Chris Mould

Dark, mysterious, captivating… The Vanishing Trick pulled me in from the very first moment Leander spotted the strange, black carriage and met the eerie Madame Pinchbeck. “It wasn’t a sin to steal if you only took forgotten things” and this lost, forgotten, empty boy needs nothing more than to belong – to someone, to something. All he has is his mother’s locket and the memory of happier times. Perhaps this new, intensely unusual group of people will become the family he so desperately longs for.

“If honesty and hunger have been in constant competition for his soul”, they may both be defeated by the clairvoyant Madame Pinchbeck as she tricks him into giving her everything. Leander is so eager to prove himself to be trustworthy and capable that he risks losing himself in the process.  It is only once it seems to be too late that Leander realises what he has gotten himself into. With his companions, Charlotte and Felix, he battles through lies, hopelessness and darkness to find truth. Together they press on through a magical trap, never giving up and growing closer in the process.

The Vanishing Trick is an absolute triumph of a story for children and adults alike. The sense of hope, determination and teamwork shown by the three children is a magnificent model of resilience and bravery for anyone facing a situation in which there seems to be no way out. The Victorian ambiance and Dickensian feel add so much to the atmosphere as the children have no where else to turn. Their dedication to an evil mistress mirrors Fagin and his boys in Oliver Twist –tempted to feel sorry for the villain yet bolstered by an undeniable sense of what is right.

This is a book with an intriguing secret which only reading will reveal. Explore the darkness to find the light – just don’t get caught with The Vanishing Trick!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK Children’s & NetGalley for this fantastic book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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