Parents' Guide to

The Magician's Bird: A Tuckernuck Mystery, Book 2

By Blair Jackson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Funny tween-sleuths mystery more complex than first.

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The Magician's Bird is a breezy, fun read, and the story is more engrossing and complex than The Lost Treasure of Tuckernuck. It's also nice to see more characters involved in solving the mystery. Again, author Emily Fairlie effectively puts us inside the heads of her tween protagonists, Bud and Laurie, as well as a couple of classmates they bring on-board to help them solve the mystery. Fairlie's narration usually reflects the kids' point of view: "Misti groaned. Candy Winkle wasn't the last person she wanted to see right now, but she was close. Maybe third from last, right after that weird clown from Misti's fifth birthday and Chuck Howard from third grade, who used to stick his pen in his ear and then suck on it."

As in the first book, the narrative is peppered with characters' "mental lists," such as Laurie's when she's mad at Bud over the planning of a scavenger hunt: "Good Reasons Not to Kill Bud Wallace: 1) Prison seventh grade probably even worse than regular seventh grade. 2) Murder definitely goes on permanent record. 3) Would have to come up with scavenger hunt ideas alone, which means dealing with Miss Abernathy. 4) Lots of good possibilities for revenge, which are not possible if he's dead." There are also hilarious communications between principal Martin Van Winkle and his annoying wife, Candy -- who call each other Snookie Bear, Honey Bunny, and Lambikins -- as well as texts between students, old and current newspaper headlines and stories, and even a tease for the Channel 7 News: "HIDDEN DANGERS IN YOUR COMMUNITY! Does going to a school founded by a murderer put your child at risk? The answer may surprise you. Investigative report tonight at 10."

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