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Children's Nonfiction Experiments & Projects


18 Amazing Ways to Freak Out Your Friends

by (author) David Acer

illustrated by Stephen MacEachern

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2008
Experiments & Projects, Curiosities & Wonders
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2008
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2008
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


A book full of knowledge and know-how, Gotcha! demystifies some age-old mysteries and shows kids that it's easy to be a master of illusion. Doubting Dave and the Mystery Hunters take readers behind the scenes of the world's oldest and coolest mysteries. Then they show kids how to re-create those mysteries to fool their friends. This interactive book is also full of interesting and bizarre background information on each mystery.

With step-by-step instructions, easy-to-find materials (and sometimes no materials at all) kids can:

• Hypnotize a friend • Turn a pencil into gold • Test their house for ghosts • Make Bigfoot prints • Make a fake UFO photo and video • Make their own lake monster video

About the authors

David Acer is a Gemini-award-nominated writer, magician and comedian who has done crazy things on dozens of television shows around the world. Younger viewers might recognize him as “Doubting Dave” from Discovery Kids' Mystery Hunters, a show which garnered him two Gemini nominations (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmys) for Best Writer in a Children's Non-Fiction Series.

David Acer's profile page

Stephen MacEachern attended Sheridan Institute for animation and illustration and has taught in the illustration program there. He is a Web and print designer as well as an illustrator. He has illustrated more than ten children's books. He lives in Erin, Ontario.

Stephen MacEachern's profile page


  • Short-listed, Diamond Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Award
  • Winner, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award

Editorial Reviews

Critical thinking and scientific reasoning underscore the fun activities. Reluctant readers will be hooked.

CM Magazine

This playful collection actually offers 19 cool tricks, from appearing to hypnotize a friend to making a crop circle ...

Kirkus Reviews

It's all here with simple instructions, fun factoids and amusing illustrations.

Today's Parent

Librarian Reviews

Gotcha! Mystery Hunters: 18 Amazing Ways to Freak Out Your Friends

Gotcha! Mystery Hunters: 18 Amazing Ways to Freak Out Your Friends presents the reader with a variety of ways to scare, shock and, most importantly, entertain themselves and friends alike. This book is based on the television series Mystery Hunters created by Jonathan Finkelstein and produced by YTV and Discovery Networks International. The text and illustrations are engaging, drawing the reader into the spectacular world of the supernatural while investigating some of the world’s strangest and interesting mysteries. David Acer provides the reader with a list of materials needed (if any) and simple step-by-step instructions to replicate the hoaxes. A great deal of background information is provided, not only to educate the reader but also to enrich the entire experience.

This entertaining book contains an excellent blend of facts and fiction while showing the audience how to perform amazing feats that will surely shock their friends. The activities outlined in the text, such as ‘Make your own Bigfoot Prints’ and ‘Make a Crop Circle,’ are age appropriate and will appeal to a wide audience.

A pleasurable read that will provide hours of enjoyment and activities the whole family can take part in.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2009. Volume 32 Number 1.

Other titles by Stephen MacEachern