Format: Paperback ARC
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Number of pages: 288
Publishing: February 16th, 2021
Source: Publisher via MB Communications
Opening Lines: "My father was famous. He was the greatest magician in Echo City. And he made himself disappear."
Kingston and the Magician's Lost and Found was coauthored by Theo Gangi and Harold Hayes, Jr. and Craig S. Phillips, under the pen name Rucker Moses, a name they selected in tribute to Benjamin Rucker aka Black Herman, a famous Black magician from the early 20th century.
Kingston and his mother have moved back to Echo City, Brooklyn, after having left when Kingston's fathers disappeared some four years ago. Despite what everyone else thinks, Kingston firmly believes his father is still alive. Kingston's mom had wanted to leave all the past and especially any mention of magic behind, but being in the old neighborhood has brought all those old memories flooding back. Especially seeing the marquee for the Mercury Theater, a strong reminder of the last time that Kingston's father performed his magical act and vanished through a mirror that shattered after a mishap during one of his illusions. But now they've returned to take over his father's magic shop before it's foreclosed, his mother wants to turn it into a café, her life long dream. Kingston however hopes to gather information about his father from his uncles, and with the help of his cousin Veronica and his childhood friend, Too Tall, he's determined to find out what happened to his father and bring him home.
Upon their arrival in town, Kingston sees a dark figure while peeking through the windows of the boarded up Mercury Theater. Later he takes Veronica and Too Tall to search the building and finds a few clues his father left behind, including a box and secret codes. It's as if his father wanted to send him on a scavenger hunt to unravel how he disappeared. Kingston learns of a rival magician, Maestro who participated with him in a few dueling magic shows and who was present with his assistant, Urma Tan, when his dad disappeared.
I think the charm of Kingston and the Magician's Lost and Found is not only the fictionalized setting of Echo City, but how the magic within the story is based on a form of parallel worlds or realms. People are able to move from the real world into an alternate realm but this shifting contributes to the threat of shattering all of reality. The magic gets kind of tricky but it's fascinating as well. I especially enjoyed the analogy of the magical realm being similar to the glass of an aquarium, protecting the release of gallons of water. And especially all of the coded messages that Kingston deciphered. Overall this was a very enjoyable read, I can see this appealing to kids who enjoy solving coded word puzzles, magical illusions, alternate realms and just the right amount of magic and mystery.
** Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers and MB Communications for kindly sending me my review copy.**