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Children's Nonfiction Experiments & Projects

Magic Up Your Sleeve

Amazing Illusions, Tricks, and Science Facts You'll Never Believe

by (author) Helaine Becker

illustrated by Claudia Dávila

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2010
Experiments & Projects, Magic
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
    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 6


In Magic Up Your Sleeve, award-winning author Helaine Becker uses dozens of optical illusions and activities to show how the world of magic manipulates the simple scientific principles of illusion and perception to leave audiences baffled. Budding magicians will learn to make an apple appear to bounce like a tennis ball, to seemingly lift an ice cube without touching, and create an "unpoppable" balloon. Every activity has been tested, is clearly explained, and is designed to provide quick results using only a handful of common household materials. Difficulty ratings are assigned to each trick to help readers choose activities that match their ability. Also paired with each trick is a “What’s Going On?” sidebar, which spills the secrets on the science behind the trickery. Special pages within each chapter grant kids glimpses into the lives of professional magicians and provide them with intriguing facts about the history of magic. From special effects to ancient “magic,” these pages complement the step-by-step tricks perfectly. A bonus Magician’s Survival Guide at the end of the book gives kids the inside scoop on how to stage their own magic show. From how to prepare and what to wear to the art of perfecting patter, this guide will help kids leave their audiences amazed and astounded.

About the authors


Helaine Becker
est l'auteure de nombreux livres jeunesse primés. Elle a écrit plus de 80
livres, dont Raconte-moi les graphiques : L'histoire de William Playfair et
l'album illustré à succès Un porc-épic dans un sapin. Helaine
habite à Toronto, en Ontario.


HELAINE BECKER is the author of numerous of books of fiction and non-fiction for children, among them the best-selling A Porcupine in a Pine Tree and its sequel, Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells, The Haunted House That Jack Built and Little Jack Horner, Live from the Corner. Her books have won the Silver Birch Award and the CBA Libris Award and have been shortlisted for the Red Cedar, the Hackmatack and the Rocky Mountain awards. Helaine lives in Toronto with her family. Visit her at

Helaine Becker's profile page


CLAUDIA DÁVILA a été directrice artistique des magazines Chirp et ChickaDEE, en plus d’être l’auteure-illustratrice de la série de bandes dessinées primées The Future According to Luz et de l’album Super Red Riding Hood. Elle a également illustré l’ouvrage percutant et multi récompensé Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War de Michel Chikwanine et Jessica Dee Humphreys, ainsi que Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book de Marthe Jocelyn et Richard Scrimger. Claudia est née à Santiago, au Chili, et vit maintenant à Toronto avec sa famille.


Claudia Dávila is the former art director of Chirp and chickaDEE magazines, and is the author-illustrator of the award-winning graphic novel series The Future According to Luz and the picture book Super Red Riding Hood. Claudia illustrated the powerful and multi-award-winning book Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys, Viminy Crowe's Comic Book by Marthe Jocelyn and Richard Scrimger and The Canadian Kids Guide to Outdoor Fun by Helaine Becker. Claudia was born in Santiago, Chile, and lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children.

Claudia Dávila's profile page


  • Short-listed, Alberta Children's Choice Awards, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Best Books for Kids and Teens Selection
  • Commended, Ontario Library Association, Top 10 Canadian Children's Books, Non-fiction Category, Best Bets List

Editorial Reviews

Amazing! I think this would be a great magic book for both boys and girls.

Kids Write Reviews

[An] upbeat introduction to magic that slyly folds science and math concepts into clearly explained tricks...Fun and instructive for a wide age range of aspiring illusionists.


The breezy narrative tone and colorful digital cartoons keep the content light and the science easy to swallow.

School Library Journal

If you know any budding prestidigitators, you’ll want to make sure that this fabulous new book by Helaine Becker appears in their hands as soon as possible.

CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials

With simple step-by-step instructions, your little Houdini can learn how to conjure up some magic of his own…Crammed with fascinating science facts and a magician’s survival guide, it’s all he’ll need to wow his audience.

Canadian Family

Budding magicians will be delighted by this new addition to the genre...A welcome addition that should vanish off library shelves.

School Library Journal

Helaine Becker and Claudia Davila have produced another fascinating book…an enterprising teacher might just add some excitement to their lessons by perfecting a few relevant illusions.

Resource Links

Librarian Reviews

Magic Up Your Sleeve: Amazing Illusions, Tricks, and Science Facts You’ll Never Believe

Abracadabra! Alakazam! Want to become the next Houdini? With this marvellous magic book you’ll learn how to create a magician’s kit and then be prepared to awe your friends and family. From tricks of the eye to mind reading, from levitation to the mysteries of gravity, this comically illustrated magic book has it all. Readers will also learn interesting facts about magicians of the past and the science behind the trickery.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

Other titles by Helaine Becker

Other titles by Claudia Dávila