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The Vanishing Coin

( 2 )


Want to see something cool?

I can make that quarter vanish.

All it takes is a little magic…

Fourth grade was supposed to be a fresh start, but Mike’s already back in the principal’s office. He’s not a bad kid. He just can’t sit still. And now, his parents won’t let him play soccer anymore; instead he has to hang out with his new neighbor Nora, who is good at everything!


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The Vanishing Coin

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Want to see something cool?

I can make that quarter vanish.

All it takes is a little magic…

Fourth grade was supposed to be a fresh start, but Mike’s already back in the principal’s office. He’s not a bad kid. He just can’t sit still. And now, his parents won’t let him play soccer anymore; instead he has to hang out with his new neighbor Nora, who is good at everything!

Then, Mike and Nora discover the White Rabbit. It’s an odd shop—with a special secret inside. Its owner, Mr. Zerlin, is a magician, and, amazingly, he believes Mike could be a magician, too. Has Mike finally found something he’s good at?

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Deep down, fourth grader Mike Weiss is a good kid. It's not his fault that he has an aversion to sitting still; that's just the way he's wired. As the school year commences, Mike is determined to get a fresh start, but his old habits keep tripping him up. It seems like nothing can help, until he discovers The White Rabbit, a magic shop with a mysterious proprietor. Mike finds that he can actually sit still and focus when he's learning about magic—now he just needs to figure out how to apply his newfound skills to the classroom. Soon, a real bit of magic surfaces: a pocketful of coins appear out of thin air. Could it be the work of the mysterious proprietor? Readers don't find out in this book, but subsequent volumes in "The Magic Shop" series will hopefully reveal the answer. The writing is serviceable, but the book should have fairly wide appeal. Many children are interested in magic, and this title includes instructions for performing the various tricks and sleights of hand. This book will also strike a chord with kids who have trouble sitting still in school. Mike shows them that fidgety kids aren't bad and that they have the potential to succeed. Black-and-white cartoon illustrations with a vintage flair appear throughout, lending visual interest. This series-starter is sufficiently niche-filling to make it a good choice for most collections.—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY
Publishers Weekly
Fourth-grader Mike Weiss can’t get the hang of math, forgets his homework, and has trouble sitting still in school. And as if getting sent to the principal’s office the first week of school wasn’t bad enough, classmate Jackson (“Mike’s enemy since birth”) won’t lay off him, and he’s spending his after-school hours with Nora, the gifted new girl next door. One afternoon with Nora, Mike discovers the town magic shop, The White Rabbit, and something that he might actually be good at. The confidence boost helps Mike work harder in school and even take on Jackson. Written in clear, straightforward language, this engaging story effectively conveys Mike’s frustration at his difficulties at school and the joy he feels at discovering a talent for magic. Egan (Kate and Nate Are Running Late) is joined by co-author Lane, a professional magician, and step-by-step breakdowns of four tricks Mike masters are included. Mike is left wondering whether magic might be real, something likely to be explored in subsequent books, including The Incredible Twisting Arm, available simultaneously. Ages 7–9. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Vanishing Coin (The Magic Shop #1):


“Many children are interested in magic, and this title includes instructions for performaing the various tricks and sleights of hand . . . This series-starter is sufficiently niche-filling to make it a good choice for most collections.” —School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
The start of fourth grade has Mike Weiss still struggling with “coping strategies” for his ADHD and taunting from bully Jackson Jacobs. Jackson teases Mike unmercifully for having to spend after-school time with his neighbor, good-at-everything Nora, whose parents have worked out a shared child-care arrangement. But when Mike and Nora wander into The White Rabbit, a store with a hidden back room marked “Secrets Inside” that sells books on magic and props for magicians’ tricks, everything begins to change. Under the gentle tutelage of the shop’s eccentric owner, Mr. Zerlin, Mike finds that while he may not shine at schoolwork, he has an uncanny knack for mastering sleight-of-hand and other elements of the magician’s art. As he learns how to get his audience—including his nemesis, Jackson—to believe in his magic, for the first time he starts to believe in himself. The problems portrayed here are somewhat stock and the prose somewhat pedestrian, with standard cartoonish illustrations, but the magic of The White Rabbit casts its own shimmer over it all. With detailed directions provided for each trick, young readers who identify with Mike’s predicament may find that magic holds out promising possibilities for them as well. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.; Ages 7 to 9.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250040435
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 4/22/2014
  • Series: Magic Shop Series , #1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 70,710
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Egan

Kate Egan is a freelance editor and the author of several books including the picture book Kate and Nate Are Running Late. She lives in Brunswick, Maine, with her husband and two children.

Magician Mike Lane has been performing magic professionally for over 30 years. He lives with his wife, Donna, and their two children, Daniel and Lindsay, in Staten Island, New York.

Eric Wight is an author, illustrator, and animation director, whose books for children include the Frankie Pickle series. Eric lives in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, with his family.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1




Nine-year-old Mike Weiss slumped in a hard chair outside the principal’s office. Fourth grade was supposed to be a fresh start, but he was right back where he always was. Every year since kindergarten, at least once a week. In trouble.

He wasn’t a bad kid. He wasn’t mean. He didn’t hurt anyone. He just couldn’t sit still. Sometimes he did things without meaning to. When he had gotten up and walked around during the math test, he really wasn’t looking at anybody’s paper. He just had to move! But that was against the rules, and he had ignored his teacher’s warning, so here he was.

Over the summer, he’d been working on ways to cope. “Strategies,” his parents called them. Sometimes they worked, and sometimes they didn’t. It looked like the strategies weren’t going to change things at school, though. It just wasn’t fair.

The principal was on the phone, behind a closed door. Any minute that door would fly open and the same routine would start all over again. Calling his parents. Talking about consequences. Making a plan.

Mike kicked the bottom rung of his chair until Mrs. Warren, the school secretary, glanced up. Then he stared at the floor. There was a bare spot in the rug beneath his feet. Was he the one wearing it thin?

Mrs. Warren had a jar of candy on her desk. Mike wasn’t supposed to eat sugar, but one little piece couldn’t hurt, right? He got up and helped himself to a chocolate kiss. It made him feel a little better, and Mrs. Warren never minded. She usually left the discipline to the principal.

“Who’s your teacher this year, Mike?” she asked kindly.

“Mrs. Canfield,” he answered. “She seems nice.” He really meant it, too. Until a few minutes ago, he’d thought that maybe Mrs. Canfield would understand him.

“You’re going to love her!” said Mrs. Warren. She started putting flyers in the teachers’ mailboxes. “She just needs to get to know you,” she added. Mrs. Warren knew all about Mike’s problems. She had a son just like him, she said. Right down to the brown eyes and the messy hair.

Some first graders walked in with an attendance sheet, staring at him like he was some kind of criminal. That was bad enough. Then Mike heard a class coming down the hall. One of the other fourth-grade teachers was at the front of the line, reminding the kids to be quiet as they made their way to the art room. Before they passed, Mike ducked behind a file cabinet in the office. But it was too late.

“Mike!” a girl called, her ponytail bouncing.

“Hey, Nora,” Mike muttered. Her family had recently moved next door to his, and she was just his age. Just his luck.

“Going home sick?” Nora asked. She would never be in the office for any other reason. Nora was gifted, his mom had told him. She needed special classes and extra-challenging homework. She could handle sitting quietly at a desk.

Mike didn’t think Nora seemed any different from most kids. She was friendly, and she liked to play four-square. He might have liked her if he didn’t know she was good at everything she tried. They definitely didn’t have that in common.

“Not exactly sick…” he said. It was hard to explain. Luckily Nora’s teacher was moving her along.

“See you after school!” she said, waving good-bye.

Mike looked around to make sure nobody had heard that. It was still a new arrangement, and he hoped it wouldn’t last. He and Nora weren’t really friends, but their parents were. They’d hit it off from the day Nora’s family moved in. It only took a couple of backyard barbecues before their mothers had cooked up a plan to help each other out after school.

Both sets of parents had flexible schedules, but they couldn’t always pick their kids up at three o’clock. So now Nora came to Mike’s house when her parents were busy, and Mike went to Nora’s when his were. He was going there today, actually. Another fun afternoon of raw vegetables and no screen time at Nora’s.

The principal’s door was still closed. Mrs. Warren was making a fresh pot of coffee. Mike wondered what his mom had told Nora’s. If Nora was gifted, what was he? What was the opposite?

The idea made him so mad that he didn’t notice the shadow in the office doorway. It still wasn’t the principal. It was much worse. Jackson Jacobs, Mike’s enemy since birth, was shaking his head. “Not again!” Jackson said. “It’s only the first week of school, man. You’re in trouble already?”

Last year Jackson had been in Mike’s class. Mike hadn’t seen him all summer, even though they lived in the same neighborhood. It looked like Jackson had grown about a foot at camp.

He always knew how to get under Mike’s skin. “Hey, where were you at soccer practice?” Jackson asked. For once, he waited to hear what Mike had to say.

Mike gulped. “I’m not playing this year,” he said.

“Not playing?” said Jackson, amazed. “But you always play. Charlie and Zack are playing. I saw them on the field.”

Mike’s best friends, Charlie and Zack, had already given him a hard time. They were on the same team this year, with matching orange jerseys, numbers 12 and 13. “I need to focus on my schoolwork,” Mike said. “Soccer is a big commitment.”

“Is that what your parents said?” asked Jackson. “So it has nothing to do with the way you never got a goal, right?” He punched Mike playfully on the arm. “What’s wrong with you, big guy? Skipping soccer is never going to help your schoolwork. It’ll take a lot more than that!”

Jackson headed toward the boys’ bathroom, laughing like it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard.

And of course that’s when the principal’s phone call finally ended. Mike saw the doorknob turning and Ms. Scott’s sensible shoes marching toward him. He sat up straight and tried to smile.

“Welcome back,” she said, waving him into her office like he was an old friend. He sat down in his usual place in front of her desk, and she sat down in her huge chair. He felt like he was back in preschool. Ms. Scott sighed deeply.

“I don’t know what to say, Mike,” she began. “It’s too early in the year for this. Your mom said you made good progress over the summer. What happened?”

“I don’t know,” Mike said honestly. “I was taking a test and I needed to get up. I wasn’t cheating or anything. I was just … moving.”

“We need to find a way for you to succeed in school,” Ms. Scott explained, not for the first time. “You can’t keep roaming around during tests, or missing assignments, or fooling around in class. You need to find a way to focus.”

What could Mike say? “I know…” he trailed off.

“I’ll need to call your parents,” Ms. Scott said. “Mrs. Canfield and I will meet with them as soon as we can find a date.”

Mike’s parents had already tried a million ways to keep him “on task,” as they said. They’d set alarms to go off whenever he had to start a new activity. They made him eat healthy food and get more sleep. Nothing did the trick. “They’re already trying,” Mike said softly.

“I know they are,” said Ms. Scott. “But I know you can do better.”

When he finally left the office, Mike tried to look on the bright side. She hadn’t said “I’m disappointed in you.” She hadn’t said “You need to concentrate,” like he could just flip a switch. She was trying to say she believed in him. That he could really do it somehow.

But mostly Mike heard Jackson’s words ringing in his ears. “What’s wrong with you?” He couldn’t play soccer, it was true. He couldn’t sit still. Or read a long book. Or remember his math facts. Or get through a week of school without ending up in the office. What was wrong with him? Mike wondered.

The answer was pretty simple: everything.


Text copyright © 2014 by Kate Egan and Mike Lane

Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Eric Wight

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2014

    Great book

    I like this book be cause

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Hocus Pocus

    This book is not just about learning magic, but about the magic of learning. Mike and Nora are in fourth grade. Nora is an exceptional student. She has no problem studying and always seems to give the right answers. Mike on the other hand can't seem to stay focused. He is constantly fidgeting in class. His attention seems to wander when reading a book or trying to listen in the classroom. His grades are only borderline passing. He is always under the teacher's thumb for some small infraction. Don't get me wrong. Mike isn't a bad kid, nor is he incapable of learning. He just can't seem to focus on the job at hand. Nothing holds his attention. That is until he and Nora discover a magic shop that they have never noticed before right in their hometown. Can hocus pocus help Mike focus? You'll have a lot of fun learning the power of magic along with Mike and Nora.

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