Okay, it’s getting very late in the game, but here’s some gift ideas for that budding magician on your insert politically correct seasonal holiday celebration shopping list.
As an added bonus, not only is magic a fun and pretty unique hobby, it’s got the added benefit of arming it’s practicioners with some pretty hard-core critical thinking chops. It’s a lot harder to believe that people can bend metal with their minds when you learn how to do it with practice!
I can personally vouch for the power of magic education as a way to encourage critical thinking about the paranormal.
That in mind, you can’t go wrong with the following magic books for your gift target. (BTW, stay away from most magic kits! The majority of them have very cheaply made props and horribly frustrating instructions.)
Klutz Book of Magic
(great for all ages, 5 – Adult)
One of the best introductions to modern magic. No direct skeptical message, but it teaches a lot of KILLER tricks that can be mastered by kids. (the Klutz Juggling book is also terrific, off topic, but terrific)
Penn and Teller’s How to Play with Your Food
(young teen – adult depending on your personal parental style 😉
The bad boys of magic use food-themed tricks and essays to teach basic concepts of magic and skepticism. Not heavy-handed, but they teach spoon-bending and it was my first introduction to James Randi.
Magic for Dummies
(advanced middle schoolers to Adult)
A wonderful mix of tricks for close-up, casual and stage performance. If the Klutz book is a big hit, this would be my next choice for the budding magician.
This book is brand new, and I haven’t purchased it yet myself, but I know Joshua Jay’s writing and dedication to magic and teaching, so I can’t imagine it being anything other than a fantastic introduction to the art for anyone. (He’s also very sympathetic to Skeptical causes)
There are also tons of books, dvd’s and props available from magic specialty dealers, but tread carefully. My favorite online retailer is http://www.penguinmagic.com but I strongly suggest that you do a google search and find your local “brick and mortar” magic shop. If they’re any good, they’ll even offer lessons, just do your homework first. 😉 (and stay away from “Magic Masters” WAYYYY OVERPRICED)
If you have any other questions about magic (for your kids or yourself) please let me know. You can links to my e-mail and social networking presences at my site: http://dezrah.googlepages.com