Recycling The Magic Way by Michael Rappa

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii April, 2005)

Kid's show magic-with-a-message appears to be an increasingly popular theme for school shows, and this volume is a guide to creating such a show based upon the environmental theme of recycling. One refreshing aspect of this book is that the author seems to have actually done some research about the subject he proposes to educate his audiences about. No doubt he has not penetrated far beyond the conventional pseudo- wisdom about recycling, which fails to consider, for example, the warehouses of ever- accumulating recycled materials for which there is as yet barely a flicker of a marketplace. Nevertheless, there is at least some kind of detailed information in this book, whether one agrees with it or not, and as well, some evidence of the author's creative imagination as he blends his theme with, and provides the resulting presentations for, sixteen standard effects including the Rice Bowls (a nice sense of plot unity here), Professor's Nightmare, Torn and Restored Newspaper, Clatter Box, Clippo, newspaper Fir Tree, and so on. While the author is less than a stylish writer, and could frankly use some tips on commas, nevertheless the reader will appreciate the clarity of organization here. Each routine includes a description of the effect, properties, preparation, presentation, and, remarkably enough, "objective." How ingenious, that a magician or magic author should consider the objectives of his or her work! The book concludes with a brief section of marketing and educational materials, along with a small bibliography. If you are interested in theme magic for children, you might get some ideas from this book, regardless of whether or not you separate your trash.

5-1/2" x 8-1/2" perfect bound; 90 pages; few illustrations; 1994; Publisher: Michael Rappa