By Educa Borras

Reviewed for Second Grade, 2010

Want to build budding reading skills and stoke confidence on the fly? This beginner magic kit inspires independence: small, inexpensive, and not overwhelming, it's a nice starter kit for kids who dream of wowing an audience, but might not be quite ready for more complex kits. Based on a set of common illusions and tricks, the kit teaches kids how to make objects appear and disappear, but also how to turn in a smooth performance and keep an audience interested. This is not a box of fancy equipment—the tools will not be passed down to the next generation and the book is simple, not slick. But for a first set to gauge interest and build the basics? Abracadabra, you've found it! (Educa, $13.14)