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Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power

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Overview

One day, Abby Carnelia, ordinary sixth grader, realizes she has a magical power. Okay, it’s not a fancy one: she can make a hard-boiled egg spin by tugging on her ears. But it’s the only one she has, and it’s enough to launch her into an adventure where she meets a host of kids with similarly silly powers, becomes a potential guinea pig for a drug company, and hatches a daring plan for escape.

Kids will be dying to unearth their own magical powers after reading this whimsical ...

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Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power

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Overview

One day, Abby Carnelia, ordinary sixth grader, realizes she has a magical power. Okay, it’s not a fancy one: she can make a hard-boiled egg spin by tugging on her ears. But it’s the only one she has, and it’s enough to launch her into an adventure where she meets a host of kids with similarly silly powers, becomes a potential guinea pig for a drug company, and hatches a daring plan for escape.

Kids will be dying to unearth their own magical powers after reading this whimsical debut by tech personality David Pogue.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—While preparing a salad one afternoon, sixth-grader Abby Carnelia makes the astonishing discovery that when she tugs on her earlobes, she can make a hardboiled egg spin. The library and Internet research give her no insight into this seemingly useless power. Then her dad suggests that she attend a summer magic camp. Abby hopes that it might help her find out why she is able to cause this strange phenomenon. Pogue's first novel for children has an original enough concept to keep readers entertained. Short chapters and plenty of dialogue move the story along, and Abby is a protagonist many readers can relate to as she tries to discover if there is something more sinister going on at Camp Cadabra. Marred only by a slightly schmaltzy ending, this book will please fans of Bruce Coville's "Magic Shop" series (Harcourt) or other readers looking for a little magic.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Hard-boiled eggs that spin when 11-year-old Abby tugs on her "magical" earlobes? Such is her inexplicable and useless "power." She jumps at the chance to enroll in a summer magic camp, hoping that someone will explain how she does it. There she meets other kids who possess strange, pointless talents. Eventually these abilities earn Abby and other "special" campers a place in a mysterious "super camp" that turns out to be a covert, tightly secured facility where kids are held against their will-and worse. All in all, the novel is breezy fun; the author keeps things moving at a sprightly pace, and Abby is bright and fully sympathetic. The secret of the "super camp" and the reason why the "special kids" are held captive, however, is, like Abby's power, a little lame. Abby exploits her own and her fellow hostages' unique skills to effect an artful escape, though, paving the way for a happy ending and implying Abby's future success. Despite its flaws, this debut makes the nice point that all kids are special, magical power or no. (Magical adventure. 9-12)
Susannah Meadows
I admit it. When I read the last two pages of Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power,…I cried. On the surface this is a tale about a regular girl with a pointless magical power. But it got me with its message of discovering and appreciating your own gifts—even if those gifts mainly consist of the ability to spin a hard-boiled egg by pulling on your ears. The moral of the story may not be all that original, but its power here lies in the way the author, David Pogue, tells it.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
New York Times columnist Pogue debuts with the charming story of 11-year-old Abby, who discovers that she is a part of “a rare, very special breed of children who can bend the laws of nature—in tiny, pointless ways.” Her ability? Making a hardboiled egg spin when she tugs on her earlobes. Eager to make sense of this “power,” she attends a summer camp for magicians, and is soon sent on to a “Super Camp” for kids with similar supernatural abilities. It quickly becomes apparent that the camp is a front for a darker operation, and Abby and other gifted campers (one can fog up a window by counting by twos in Spanish in a weird voice; another can levitate, slightly, by imagining buffalos walking backwards in diapers) find purpose in their seemingly pointless powers. One gets the sense that Pogue family in-jokes may be a source for some of the dialogue, and the author even inserts himself into the story. But this in no way diminishes the kid-pleasing nature of Pogue's brand of humor or the message that all gifts, no matter how absurd they seem, have value. Ages 8–12. (May)
From the Publisher
“I admit it. When I read the last two pages of Abby Carnelia’s One and Only Magical Power, a novel for 8- to 12-year-olds, I cried. . . . It got me with its message of discovering and appreciating your own gifts. . . . The power here lies in the way the author, David Pogue, tells it.” —The New York Times Book Review

“This is the first children’s book by tech writer David Pogue. Notably tech-free, it’s an original mix of realism, mystery caper, and the teensiest bit of magic. It contains a strong message for girls.” Parade.com

Abby Carnelia’s One and Only Magical Power is smoothly written, with characters that kids can easily recognize and root for. . . . Grown-ups and kids alike should approve the message: Is every child special in some unique way? Is ‘there something waiting to be discovered inside every kid on earth?’ We all know the answer to that.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“[This] debut makes the nice point that all kids are special, magical power or no.” Kirkus Reviews

“Kid-pleasing [with a message] that all gifts, no matter how absurd they seem, have value.” Publishers Weekly

“This book will please fans of Bruce Coville’s ‘Magic Shop’ series or other readers looking for a little magic.’School Library Journal

The premise that every child is magical is clearly expressed without ever being heavy-handed. Abby’s triumphant finale will have young readers contemplating how they, too, are special.” —Booklist

“David Pogue makes the book witty and action packed.” —Flamingnet.com reviewer, age 15

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596433847
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 264,641
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID POGUE is the personal-tech columnist for The New York Times. His whimsical tech videos appear on CNBC and CBS News Sunday Morning, and he's the author of numerous books, including "Macs for Dummies." He lives in Westport, Connecticut.

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Read an Excerpt

YOU’VE PROBABLY SEEN THE ADS for Abby Carnelia’s Find-Your-Magic Centers on TV. Or maybe you’ve seen a Find-Your-Magic Center at the shopping mall, tucked in between the Gap and the drugstore. But Abby Carnelia herself didn’t discover her own magical power until she was eleven years old. This is how it happened. One Saturday in April, Abby and her little brother, Ryan, were in the kitchen, helping their mom make a chef’s salad for lunch. Mrs. Carnelia’s version of the chef’s salad was basically a big tossed salad with sliced- up ham, turkey, bacon, eggs, and sometimes leftovers from the fridge that really had no business being in a salad.

Ryan was setting the table. Abby was slicing up the hard- boiled eggs. Mrs. Carnelia walked by with a piece of meatloaf that was about to become salad topping. 

“Did you lose an earring, honey?” she asked. “Or are you just going for a lopsided look?”

Abby looked up from the eggs. “What?”

“You’re missing an earring.”

Abby’s hands automatically went up to her earlobes. Sure

enough, she could feel the left aquamarine earring still in place. But on the right side, there was nothing but a naked, rubbery, pierced earlobe. On any other day, she might have run upstairs to look for

the other earring, or felt around on the floor, or tried to remember putting them on.

And on any other day, she might have heard any of the three things that people in that kitchen said next. First came Ryan’s wisecrack:

“It probably fell in the salad. Chew slowly, people.” (Ryan was eight. Wisecracks were his specialty.) Then came her mother’s question: “Are you sure you put

it on today, honey?” Then her dad boomed into the kitchen, big and bald.

“And good morrow to you, my beetlings!”

(He always said stuff like that. And no, I don’t know what “beetlings” means, either. It’s just what he had always called his kids for as long as Abby could remember.) But this was not any normal day, and Abby didn’t hear anything. She was too busy looking at the egg. Staring at it, actually, with just about the weirdest expression you’ve ever seen on a sixth grader’s face. It was a hard- boiled egg. Just a plain white chicken’s egg, like every egg you’ve ever seen. There was only one thing

unusual about it: this egg was spinning. Slowly, sitting there on the counter, turning around and around.

Now, in itself, a spinning egg isn’t especially freaky. In the history of the world, there have probably been thousands of spinning eggs. There are egg- spinning science experiments, egg- spinning games, and probably world records for spinning eggs. What made this par tic u lar spinning egg so unusual was that nothing had touched it. Nothing had come anywhere near it. There are very few world records for eggs that start spinning all by themselves, for no reason. Abby, frowning hard at that egg, reached out to stop it with her hand. There. Now it was sitting still, just like an egg is supposed to.

But then a little voice in her head seemed to say: Try it again! So for the second time, Abby Carnelia reached up and tugged at her earlobes, just like she had the first time she checked for the missing earring.

 

And there it was: the egg started spinning again. By itself. She was speechless. Even the little voice in her head was speechless. She stopped the egg again. She tugged her earlobes again. It started spinning again. Always slowly, always the same direction, and always perfectly evenly, without any

of the wobble you’d get if you spun an egg with your hand.

Now, Abby loved science. She had spent two years in Brownies, knew how to make a few recipes (which is science, after all), and had been the only girl in fifth grade not to be grossed out when they dissected a frog in science class. She knew all the basic laws of science, like “What goes up must come down” and “Nature abhors a vacuum.” But she had never heard the one that goes, “Eggs spin when you pull on your ears.”

Abby’s mom repeated her question. “Abby? Are you sure you put on both earrings this morning?”

It was Ryan, though, who first realized that something was going on. He trotted over to see what Abby was looking at. And he saw the egg start spinning by itself.

“WHOA, DUDE!” he said.

Abby came back to earth, noticed him there, and stopped the egg. She picked it up and tapped it on the bowl to crack its shell, ready to peel it, as though nothing had happened. “What, Ry?” said their mom.

“Abby just did the coolest trick. Do it again!”

But Abby was confused and just a little bit freaked out.

A thousand thoughts were crowding her brain, and her stomach was doing the jitterbug. So she pretended that nothing was going on. She finished peeling the egg and began to slice it. “I was just fooling around,” she managed. “Forget it.” Of course, you can’t tell an excited eight- year- old boy

to forget anything.

“No, c’mon! Do it again!”

Ryan grabbed another hard- boiled egg himself and tried to make it spin the way Abby had. He waved his hands around it. He blew on it. He made ghost noises with his mouth.

“What did you do, blow on it? I bet you blew on it. Show Mom. Mom! Come here! Look at Abby’s egg trick! Hey, Dad! Want to see something cool? Abby did a trick!”

Abby rolled her eyes. “It’s nothing, all right? It’s just a stupid egg.”

But her parents had now joined her at the counter.

“No egg is stupid,” proclaimed her dad. “Bring forth the trick with all due speed!”

“I’d love to see it, hon,” added her mother.

“Doooooo IT! Dooooo IT! Dooooo IT!” chanted Ryan.

Abby, flustered, didn’t know what to do. She had already sliced up the first egg; it was salad bits at this point. She had no idea if a different egg would work. Ryan grabbed another one from the bowl, set it on the counter, and flicked at it with his pointer finger. “Do the thing, Abby!” The little voice in her head said: Oh, go ahead. Just do the thing. Abby ner vously pushed her long, dark brown hair back over her shoulders. She steadied this new egg with her hand. Then, as her family watched, she tugged her earlobes.

The egg began to spin by itself. It kept spinning as long as she kept tugging.

“WICKED!” shouted Ryan. “How do you blow it from so far away? No, I know. It’s a magnet! Can I try? Where’s the magnet? Lemme try!”

“That’s great, honey,” said Mrs. Carnelia, giving Abby’s

shoulders an affectionate squeeze. “You sure have me fooled!” And she walked away to pour the milk.

Abby’s father said nothing. And for him to say nothing was highly unusual. He had a feeling that there

was more to this than just a spinning hard- boiled egg.

And, as everyone knows by now, he was absolutely right.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Find Your One Power!

    Abby Carnelia is a special kid. While helping her mother make lunch one day, she discovers she can make a hard-boiled egg spin simply by tugging on her ears. In support of this new talent, her parents send her to the prestigious Camp Cadabra to learn more about magic. Once there, she meets other kids just like her. But it soon becomes clear that something at the camp is not quite right. Abby and her new friends need to figure out exactly what is going on... before it's too late!

    This book is totally super cute. It is full of age appropriate pop-culture references, fun and interesting little tid-bits about magic, and has a fun "summer camp" atmosphere. The kids' dialogue is true to life, the story is believable, and the writing does not condescend to the reader. David Pogue has written a whimsical story about coming into your own, and kids all over will be racing to find their unique power!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    The best book

    This book is cool and fun.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    This book was MAGICAL

    This book heped me discover my own magical power....WHEN I SAY BEACHBALL ALL THE CLOTHS HANGERS IN THE ROOM DANCE

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Cool

    Its a funny book. Very addicting!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    my son liked it

    I bought this book for my son. Well, actually, I suggested that he buy it and we went to Fargo to the Barnes and Noble. At the store he looked at lots of different books. But, finally, he decided on this one. He started reading it in the car on the way back home. I think that he finished about the time we got back. So, it took him something like an hour to read it. In other words, its a light read. But, then, what were you expecting. David Pogue writes how to books for a living and this is only his second novel, and a children's one at that.

    My son has not picked the book up since we bought it. And there are other books that he does read more than once. He has read Hatchet, and the Whipping Boy several times. I know that. He has no shame in reading a book again. One of his teachers told him once that good readers re-read. When I suggest to him that he try something new instead of reading a book for a second, third, or, sometimes even, a fourth time he tells me again, "Good readers re-read." I suppose that's solid advice.

    I know that I have re-read the Adventures of Augie March at least four times myself. That, by the way, is a much better book than Abby Carnelia's One & Only Magical Power. But it's not really a kids' book, so maybe I should not say anything else about it now.

    So, in conclusion, do I recommend this book? I don't know. I didn't read it. But my son read it and he seemed to enjoy it.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Read this

    I read it like it was my job it was like a bunch fo clif hangers abby goes to this camp and she meets a boy and he does this trick and there amazed and they have a camper show and there in it with there powers and this counsler takes them to a "camp" i gusss u would call it rheres i think 4 other people that go with them and they have every tjing in the rooms but a phone and they use there powers to escape im so sorry if i told you too much i recamend it to lotof peoples

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2014

    Abby crazy

    Awesome book it is a sunshine state book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    Hnhnj

    Ngbgbji

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted March 18, 2010

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    Posted April 13, 2010

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    Posted October 4, 2010

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