Bound To Stay Bound

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 Dorko the magnificent
 Author: Beaty, Andrea

 Publisher:  Amulet Books
 Pub Year: 2013

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 213 p.,  21 cm.

 BTSB No: 100467 ISBN: 9781419706387
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Magicians -- Fiction
 Magic tricks -- Fiction
 Grandmothers -- Fiction
 Family life -- Fiction
 Humorous fiction

Price: $20.69

Robbie Darko is an old-school, pull-a-rabbit-out-of-your-hat-style magician, but despite his best efforts, something always goes wrong with his tricks until crotchety Grandma Melvyn moves in and teaches him something about the true meaning of magic.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 4.70
   Points: 5.0   Quiz: 158760
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 4.50
   Points: 9.0   Quiz: 61190

   Kirkus Reviews (03/01/13)
   School Library Journal (+) (06/01/13)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/13)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 06/01/2013 Gr 4–6—Fifth grade has been tough for Robbie Darko, an aspiring illusionist who can't perform even the simplest trick without accidentally setting things on fire. His dad constantly travels for work, his mom tries to help make ends meet with a demanding new job, his teachers are fed up with his havoc-wreaking magic tricks, and his little brother is a huge pain. To make matters worse, Robbie is asked to give up his bedroom to eccentric and unrelentingly cantankerous Grandma Melvyn (actually, his great-great-aunt). Robbie eventually learns that Grandma Melvyn was once a celebrated magician. With the help of his affable friend Cat, he slowly earns Grandma's approval and, ultimately, her trust and affection. She not only coaches Robbie in showmanship and sleight of hand, but she also guides him down the path to self-confidence and self-discipline. Robbie's maturation is ultimately tested when Grandma Melvyn makes a final trip to the hospital. Beaty develops well-rounded main and supporting characters with genuine flaws and emotions, skillfully building their relationships. Though the protagonist's flashback narration occasionally meanders, it has an authentic middle-grade voice that will have readers laughing out loud. The moments where Robbie takes responsibility for his mistakes and shows vulnerability will serve as positive examples for young audiences. Satisfying and enjoyable, Dorko will engage reluctant and voracious readers alike.—Elly Schook, Jamieson Elementary School, Chicago - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2013 Eleven-year-old Robbie Darko is a stage magician whose tricks always seem to go a little bit wrong. Now, after a disastrous talent-show performance the year before, he’s starting fifth grade desperate to redeem himself. It’s hard to focus on improving your sleight of hand, though, when your teachers are always thwarting your efforts, your mother’s attention is always on her job, and your little brother (affectionately known as Ape Boy) is always climbing on your stuff and chewing on your props. Things only seem to get worse when cranky, bossy Grandma Melvyn (who isn’t even his real grandma) moves in, taking over his room and making his life miserable. Like a good magic trick, there’s more to Melvyn than meets the eye, and soon Robbie not only has an audience but a mentor, as the old lady turns out to be a former world-class magician complete with her own cabinet of illusions. As Melvyn and Robbie bond over their shared passion, each learns to appreciate, trust, and even forgive the other for their mistakes, until an unexpected medical condition threatens to take Grandma Melvyn away for good. Narrated in Robbie’s own inimitable voice speaking directly to the reader (because “magicians always talk to their audiences”), this story captures all the eagerness, confusion, and frustration of being a kid on the cusp between elementary and middle school. Robbie’s yearning to be taken seriously and his impatience at being dismissed by distracted, busy adults are utterly relatable, and readers will appreciate his annoyance at having his life turned upside down for an unfriendly relative, even as they recognize that Grandma Melvyn isn’t as awful as Robbie originally believes. A thoroughly likable middle-grade novel, offering a blend of poignancy and giggle-worthy humor, this book is a solid back-to-school read. AM - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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