If I’m honest, I didn’t relish the prospect of reading Just for Fun – since I don’t normally do kids magic. It was just one of those things I get sent to review which I thought I’d diligently plough through. But to my great surprise I found myself really enjoying this book. Let me try to explain why…
The book itself
This is a really nicely produced book – well printed and beautifully illustrated. And more than that, Christopher has a light hearted and fun writing style. You get a real sense from reading the book how much fun he must be to watch as a performer. You can’t help smiling at his jokes and puns on the way – it is a really easy read.
It is full of brilliant routines – primarily for the children’s or family entertainer. The routines are full of variety and packed with fun and interaction for the kids. You can tell that he has worked all this material for a living – and the ideas are clearly ‘workers.’
Many of the items involve ‘variations’ on well-known children’s effects – but I thought that some of the presentational hooks were superb – much more ‘contemporary’ than much of the children’s magic I see around the place. There were some new plots here as well as variations.
The routines in Just for Fun use lots of items you will already own, but there is also an emphasis on making your own props. But for someone who is slightly DIY incompetent like me, the ‘manufacturing’ involved was not too daunting – lots of hot glue gunning and printing on heavy board with a few magnets thrown in for good measure – nothing too difficult.
A return to my childhood
If you’ll forgive a very personal perspective, one of the things I loved was the way he transported me back to my own childhood. I used to love wandering around hardware stores and novelty shops (and Woolworths – UK Readers, remember them?!) and trying to come up with magic ideas using the inexpensive items I saw. This book has the same sort of sense – and re-kindled in me that desire to create and adapt.
I suspect that even the experienced children’s entertainer will pick up some tips – and some great ideas here. And for someone just starting out, you could pretty much make a whole act!
Furthermore, some of the ideas have a wider application – I do some more ‘family shows’ and could see some of these ideas being worked in. And I particularly loved the microphone idea – which I could see be worked into all kinds of shows – or even as an MC/compere item.
I appreciated some of the helpful thoughts on the craft of putting a show together – and other aspects of ‘stagecraft’ – again there is solid evidence that he is teaching from experience and knows his stuff.
The bottom line is – I really enjoyed reading Just for Fun – and will be coming back to it again.
You can pick up Just for Fun from The Merchant of Magic for £30.50 (at the time of writing).
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.
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