Robbie Darko is a magician. An old-school, pull-a-rabbit-out-of-your-hat-style magician. Robbie loves magic and he’s good at it—sort of. Despite his best efforts, passion, and practice, something always goes wrong with his tricks, landing Robbie in trouble. Enter crotchety Grandma Melvyn, who calls everyone “Trixie” and complains about everything. When Grandma Melvyn moves in and takes over his room, Robbie discovers that she was once an internationally renowned magician and learns about the heartache that turned her into a bitter woman. Against all odds, Robbie and Grandma Melvyn form an uneasy alliance to show the world—or at least the kids of Hobson Elementary School—that he is a true magician. Shortly after a successful talent show, Grandma Melvyn performs a final disappearing act, and Robbie learns a little about the true meaning of magic.
Written with pitch-perfect middle-grade humor and unforgettable characters, this gem of a novel will stay with readers long after Dorko the Magnificent has taken his final bow.
Praise for Dorko the Magnificent
"A young would-be magician gets lessons in both stagecraft and life from a crusty elder... the supporting characters steal the show."
"Short chapters keep the story moving. Robbie has impressive determination, but it is Grandma Melvyn who is the star in this moving story."
"Satisfying and enjoyable, Dorko will engage reluctant and voracious readers alike."
—School Library Journal
" A thoroughly likable middle-grade novel, offering a blend of poignancy and giggle-worthy humor, this book is a solid back-to-school read."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Literature circles would work well with this title that deals with alienation, friendship, family, reconciliation, and death."
—Library Media Connection
Fifth-grader Robbie Darko has been obsessed with becoming a magician for years, but the illusions he performs tend to end in disaster. Robbie is less than excited when his grandmother moves in with his family temporarily, but could Grandma Melvyn with her bedazzled sweatshirts, steady stream of insults, and Wheel of Fortune obsession actually be a master of misdirection herself? The testy intergenerational relationship between Robbie and his grandmother forms the heart of the story; the family's financial troubles, Robbie's father's frequent absences, and Robbie's friendships hover at the periphery. Humor and poignancy, triumph and failure are balanced throughout, though Beaty (Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies) sends the story veering to tragedy in the final pages in a way that is likely to surprise (and possibly upset) readers. Nonetheless, while Robbie explains early on that he won't be divulging any magicians' secrets ("If you're reading this book to find out how magic tricks work... you're reading the wrong story"), readers will come away learning at least one key to making magic: hard work. Ages 8 12.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great book overall. Although the price is a little steep for the length of the book. Very satisfied with my purchase of this book.