MMGM : The Unbelievable Oliver and the Four Jokers by Pseudonmous Bosch
ABOUT THE BOOK
Nine-year-old Oliver dreams of being a professional magician, but he gets stage fright whenever he performs and ends up forgetting his tricks. Much to his dismay, his friends Teenie and Bea have gotten him invited to a classmate's birthday party as the paid entertainment! Desperately hoping for help with his act, he visits The Great Zoocheeni's Magic Emporium, but Zoocheeni sneeringly refuses to teach him a single trick or sell him any props other than a moth-eaten top hat.
Oliver is in for a lucky surprise, though. Inside that top hat hides a wisecracking rabbit named Benny, who agrees to help Oliver impress at the party. Little does Oliver know that he'll also end up accused of theft and needing to solve the mystery of the missing robo-cat to clear his own name before he and Benny can perform their grand finale.
Each book in the series is named for a classic magic trick (e.g. The Four Burglars, The Rope Trick, Sawed in Half, etc.) and contains a simple mystery story inspired by the trick. Every time Oliver performs, something goes wrong, but with the help of his rabbit, Benny, and the twin girls, Teenie and Bea, Oliver always sets things right in the end. A magic trick may go astray but a mystery never goes unsolved.
Oliver longs to be a magician but his severe stage fright makes it seem like an impossibility. When his friends Teenie and Bea get him "hired" as the entertainment at a classmate's birthday party he's terrified. He tries to get help with his act from the local magic store but the magician refuses to help him. After buying an old top hat, Oliver wonders how he will ever survive. Especially since the boy he's performing for is a rich, spoiled-jerk. Things don't exactly go as planned at the party especially when Oliver is accused of stealing one of the presents. Oliver sets out with Teenie and Bea, and a sarcastic bunny named Benny (from the top hat) to find the real guilty party and it's rather amusing to see how each of them follows a different set of clues. Can Oliver solve the mystery and clear his name? Can he actually complete a trick or will he completely humiliate himself? While I didn't enjoy the book as much as I was hoping. I did enjoy the magic parts and it was fun to see how Oliver actually used a magic trick to reveal the answer to the mystery. The talking bunny wasn't my favorite part of the book, but some readers are bound to find him amusing. The plentiful illustrations, including comic book-like segments break up the text in a fun way adding to the enjoyment. And the author explains how to perform the trick (The Four Jokers) at the end of the book. The diverse family (Teenie and Bea have two dads), adds a nice touch without being pushy or even that big a part of the story.A fun read for young readers who enjoy magic with some fantasy (the talking bunny) thrown in. It definitely has Bosch's touch of the unusual about it.