Review by Steve Vaughn
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Date: Monday, 26 September 2005, at 3:28 p.m.
Title: Tear-Able Magic:
Paper Magic For Wizards
By: Eleazar Goodenough
Available from: www.magicnook.com
Medium: E-book - pdf file
Cost: $40 USD
Level: Performer, kids' shows, parlour, family shows
This is an interesting e-book, in that its origin seems to
have caused controversy. Eleazar Goodenough is an eight year old
character found in stories written by the grandfather of an eight
year old who was motivated to write the stories to get the young
fellow interested in reading. From what I understand, it worked.
The character Eleazar is based on the nameless youngster and this
ebook is being presented as authored by the eight year old. Now
if you read the e-book, you'll see that either it was written by
an experienced magician or was heavily edited to the point where
it reads like something written by an experienced magician. I
tell you this because some may think it is written like one
expects an eight year old to write but it isn't; it is rather
well written and the information clear.
This e-book is 88 pages long and clearly written with
adequate illustrations. If I was to find any problem with the
illustrations it is that they were done on the computer which
limits you, using basic software, compared to what can be done by
hand. This is only a minor complaint and only because my brother
is a graphic artist and I have higher standards. The
illustrations are not lacking, just could have been more
elaborate. The book mostly covers four or five catagories of
What you will find first is how to make your own mouth coils
(or fist coils). I learned how to make them in a store that did
special gift wrapping and was always surprised that more folks
didn't know how to make them. Pretty nice to be able to make the
the color you want and the size you want.
Next the book covers how to make your own hat tears, a
mainstay in children's shows and always a crowd pleaser. Eleazar
goes over different styles of the cone shaped hats, meaning
wizard, witches, clown, etc. You are given info on the
construction and decorating of the hats as well as some
performance and additional tips. This is some pretty interesting
stuff and I know it made me change my presentation some because,
well, I didn't think of it first. The handling is different than
the standard shop bought hat tears and I like the clean up better
in the book than with the standard hats.
Next Eleazar goes into different types of hat tears like an
Uncle Sam (top hat) hat and graduation cap. Again these come with
performance tips. These do take a bit more work, but if if you
need 'em, you'll do 'em.
Next comes some info on a paper ladder, which I've tried and
failed at making since I was about four and saw it on TV. That's
right, 40 years of failure and now I can do it! The paper ladder
is used as part of an elaborate Hawaiian themed presentation that
has torn leis (?), pineapple, shirt, shorts, pretty much
everything needed to keep the Tiki gods happy. The routine is
given, tips, you name it. Good stuff.
Next comes a routine with a tear tie (neck tie) with all
kinds of fun stuff involved.
The final part of the e-book is what Eleazar calls "The
Ultimate Newspaper Tear." I admit I am not familiar enough
with newspaper tears, I use an old one, to know if this is the
ultimate or not. I put together one and it works as described and
the big benefit is you end clean. In my version you cannot hand
out the paper, but here you can. Different magical applications
are applied to this routine and a lot of thought went into it.
Might be cool to do if you want to be able to restore the paper
then set it down and let curiosity take over when specs get their
hands on it after you are done. The gimmick is well designed and
made to last, I wish I could tell you more but want to respect
This is a well done e-book and the information should be of
value to kids' show and family show performers and I can
recommend it to those types of performers. Close up guys and
strollers might not find it of much use, but perhaps of interest.
© 2005, Steve Vaughn, used by permission