Magic and mystery abound in this delicious and exciting tale of deception and hope set in the Victorian era, perfect as a family read-aloud or for upper primary school aged children to enjoy.

Madame Pinchbeck, glamorous but evil, makes her money by persuading people she can communicate with the dead and summon up ghosts. Her seances are quite the theatrical spectacle, made all the more convincing by the orphan children she has kidnapped and trained, and over whom she has mysterious control.

But the children have had enough and want to escape, and in doing so expose Madame Pinchbeck for the fraud she is. Will they have the strength? Will they be able to break the magic? Will they overcome their differences to work together as a team?

The Vanishing Trick by Jenni Spangler draws the reader in to a wonderfully imagined world, with a brilliant mix of beautiful descriptive detail balanced with great pace and a story arc full of momentum. There’s a character for every reader to love; I can already imagine lots of world book day costumes based on this lovely book which, with its intertwining of fairy tales, along with historical setting, gives lots of scope for extension activities.

My e-review copy didn’t have any illustrations, but I’m looking forward to seeing a published copy of this book as it has illustrations by Chris Mould – the ideal illustrator to pair with this spooky story.

A perfect mixture of thrills and triumph, ideal for fans of Abi Elphinstone or Peter Bunzl , this is a delightful tale reminding us it’s not necessarily blood that makes you family, its love.

[Reviewed by Zoe for FOLIO]

Some links inspired by The Vanishing Trick

Book Review: The Vanishing Trick