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|Balthazar Fabuloso in the Lair of the Humbugs|
Author: Brindle, I. J.
As part of his family's magic act, eleven-year-old Balthazar is the only member without real magical powers, but when his family disappears in the middle of a performance, Balthazar must work with a ragtag crew of misfits to save the day.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.60
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 182945
Kirkus Reviews (-) (03/01/16)
School Library Journal (00/04/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2016 Things have gotten so bleak for real-life magicians these days that archrival families the Fabulosos and the Fistulas are fighting over who gets to play dinky stage-magic shows at washed-up dinner theaters. Eleven-year-old Balthazar Fabuloso is the only one among them without any true magic, a fact that shames him. But when his family is swallowed by a cold, menacing gray fog on stage, it’s up to him—magic or not—to track them down, even if it means facing off with the Gloaming, one of the darkest evils in history. His only help is his annoying neighbor Pagan Fistula and a crazy uncle who smells like stinky feet. Brindle’s debut is a fast-paced hoot. Although the plot runs from dark and creepy to downright macabre, Brindle is clearly having a blast, and it shows. Some of the humor might be over kids’ heads at times, but when there are chapter titles like Gassius Fartibus and expletives like “Merlin’s green hairy meatballs!” you know what you are in for: a gross but chuckle-worthy ride. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2016 Balthazar is fed up with the routine of family magic shows where he is the only one who can’t do real magic, and he makes the fabled mistake of wishing his supernaturally gifted, busy, noisy, chaotic, self-involved family would just be normal-right before they all disappear, leaving him missing them exactly how they were. Suspicion falls upon a rival stage family, who have been heckling the Fabulosos, but it’s soon clear that this family was not responsible for the disappearances when they vanish as well. Now it’s on Balthazar and Pagan (a quippy, magical girl from the rival family) to make peace with each other, join forces, and save their families from villains who want to suck the magic from their bodies. While Pagan’s occasional journal entries between chapters interrupt the flow, they give important insight into the rivalry between the families and on the feeling of isolation amid a family full of huge personalities. It’s a nice touch that the kids don’t actually bond all that much, or at least not beyond the rescue-it’s more intriguing to see how an alliance looks and feels than a more predictable friendship. Balthazar is an effective everykid, unsure that he’s somebody who can save his family but managing anyway. It’s ultimately on the slight side, but there’s still plenty of humor, a zippy pace, and lots of magic to keep readers entertained. Final illustrations not seen. AS - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.