Zoo Magic by Robert E. Neale

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii November, 2006)

Robert E. Neale has written about magic and meaning, death and card tricks, and folding paper money into bunny rabbits and other creatures -a delightfully eclectic resume to say the least. Now he has provided us with a brief dissertation which expands on the charming item sometimes known as the Pearl Poodle. This is a short string of wired beads that magicians (and other types) twist into what looks like a miniature balloon dog, an appealing giveaway that can be used to great effect.

Mr. Neale has taken wired bead sculpture to the next level, offering instructions on how to twist the same small length of beads into forms including a swan, elephant, alligator, dinosaur, giraffe, camel, turtle, human, and more. Along with these shapes, some simple approaches to routining are also offered. And, Mr. Neale being Mr. Neale, there is also a version done with black pearls declared as "a rosary fondled by a ghoul"—to create a dog known as "The Hound of Hell." What flat-lined soul could pass up such a happy deal for a mere $15?

Zoo Magic • Robert E. Neale • 8" x 11" saddle-stitched • 26 pages • illustrated with 37 photographs• 2006