Mr. Mysto's Wizard Academy: Simple Magic & Stunts by John Carney
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii March, 2012)
Many readers will know the name of the Mister known as Mysto, and if you wonder how he came to be a household name well, in one household, at least, somewhere in the vicinity of Los Angeles—one can only
say, "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice."
Okay, actually, that was first said by Joseph Dunninger, and while he was in his grave by the time Mysto came on the scene, it's quite possible old Joe and some of his pals promptly started spinning therein the moment Mysto took his first bow.
Now the legend of Mysto continues with the publication of his first book (by way of his mild-mannered magician secret identity, John Carney), Mr Mysto's Wizard Academy. And if I may be serious for just a moment or two difficult to do when thinking of Mysto and all his magnificence has wrought but if you are in need of a book for magic beginners, a simple introduction suitable for beginners of any age, then this is the one you want to start with.
You're likely familiar with most of the contents some 23 items plus a handful of beginning card moves, including entries like the floating dinner roll, biting a plate, the rising pencil in bottle, the bent-and-restored spoon, tying a napkin into a bunny or chicken, stopping your pulse, swallowing a knife, and so on. But what makes this set of instructions special are the excellent descriptions— including the kind of sage advice that John Carney has been giving to serious conjuring students for years, but here adapted for beginners along with the delightful comic illustrations by Stephanie Gladden. All this is topped off with a closing Mr. Mysto press kit, assured to produce a few bonus laughs for any reader. So I recommend you buy at least two copies you're bound to know someone who needs a copy of this fun and instructive introduction to magic, and once you have a look, you're going to want to keep one for yourself as well. So go sign someone up for the Wizard Academy, featuring Mr. Mysto as the head instructor: What could possibly go wrong?