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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Dorko the Magnificent by Andrea Beaty

Be sure to check out the full March MG Madness schedule of events and enter the big giveaway (box of 10 middle-grade books).

Dorko the Magnificent
by Andrea Beaty
Format: ARC
Source: from pub
 Robbie Darko is a magician. An old-school, pull-a-rabbit-out-of-your-hat-style magician. Robbie loves magic and he’s good at it—sort of. Despite his best efforts, passion, and practice, something always goes wrong with his tricks, landing Robbie in trouble. Enter crotchety Grandma Melvyn, who calls everyone "Trixie” and complains about everything. When Grandma Melvyn moves in and takes over his room, Robbie discovers that she was once an internationally renowned magician and learns about the heartache that turned her into a bitter woman. Against all odds, Robbie and Grandma Melvyn form an uneasy alliance to show the world—or at least the kids of Hobson Elementary School—that he is a true magician. Shortly after a successful talent show, Grandma Melvyn performs a final disappearing act, and Robbie learns a little about the true meaning of magic.Written with pitch-perfect middle-grade humor and unforgettable characters, this gem of a novel will stay with readers long after Dorko the Magnificent has taken his final bow.

Andrea Beaty's Dorko the Magnificent is the kind of middle-grade book that I love and cherish. The kind that has me giggling the whole way through, wanting to hug its characters, then hitting me with a poignant and well executed emotional punch.

Fifth grader Robbie Darko is a magician. The top hat and cape wearing, wand waving, pull a rabbit out of a hat, kind of magician. Robbie uses his magic to escape his less than ideal life: his dad travels too much for his work, his mother must work a stressful job to make ends meet, his little brother is super annoying, and he gets picked on at school. And to make matters even worse, grumpy Grandma Melvyn moves in, taking over Robbie's room. Grandma Melvyn calls everybody Trixie, has a Wicked Wobble Eye, and isn't a big fan of Robbie's. But Robbie discovers that Grandma Melvyn was once a part of a famous magic act and she agrees to give him magic lessons in preparation for the big school talent show. With some patience, understanding, and a lot of magic these two form an unlikely bond.

Dorko the Magnificent was a complete joy to read and Andrea Beaty has magic in her words. This is a quick middle-grade read, but it's stuffed with a lot of fun, humor, and heart, and its unforgettable characters shine bright.

Beaty charms with Robbie's pitch-perfect and endearing voice and she clearly knows her intended audience well. The humor is giggle inducing, yet smart, and Robbie's misadventures with Grandma Melvyn are as touching as they are amusing. Amidst all the magic, funnies, and fifth-grade woes, Beaty crafts an insightful exploration of real life issues. Beaty touches on subjects like debt, bullying, overworked parents, and death, and does so with thoughtfulness and honesty, and in a way that is both appropriate and comprehensible to young readers.

Dorko the Magnificent has a wonderful cast of colorful characters, from unstoppable, magic loving Robbie, unpredictable and witty Grandma Melvin, PB&J taco eating Cat (Robbie's BFF), to an ape of a little brother who chews on everything, and many more. These are unforgettable, lovable, and charming characters that each have of a special shine of their own.

I didn't expect this book to move and touch me so much, but it has. I'm always impressed by a book that can make me cry, but a book that can have me smiling while crying is a real gem. This book is a sparkling gem!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Robbie and Grandma Melvyn have cast a real spell on me and Andrea Beaty needs no wand to make real magic. Dorko the Magnificent will enchant readers of all ages and leave them laughing, thoughtful, and eager to create a little magic of their own.



Andrea Beaty: Website / Goodreads
Andrea Beaty was raised in a small southern Illinois town, where her family ran a tiny grocery store. When she wasn’t roaming the nearby fields with her brothers and sisters, she was reading Nancy Drew mysteries up in the branches of a maple tree. Andrea now lives outside Chicago with her family.

Win a finished copy of
Dorko the Magnificent!
Thanks to the generous people at Abrams Books, I have one copy to give away.
PLEASE READ: Throughout the March MG Madness, I will be giving away 10 books from Abrams. I will be using the same Rafflecopter below to give away each book. There will be ten winners who will each win one of the books. 

-Ten winners will each win one of the ten books
-will run from 3/2 - 3/31
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes


Amy said...

This book sounds so fun and cute!! The characters seem like ones I would absolutely adore!

Anonymous said...

You got me laughing just from your review. Now I really would love to read more about the "ape of a little brother."
Neat review. :)


Geo Librarian said...

Ohh. This book sounds like a great read. I'll definitely be adding this to my TBR list.