Hocus Pocus Hotel

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Hocus Pocus Hotel
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Genre(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
August 01, 2012
ISBN
978-1434242532
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When tough-guy Tyler Yu asks the eidetic, nerdy Charlie Hitchcock to meet him after school, Charlie assumes he's about to get beat up. However, it turns out Ty just needs help solving a magical mystery at the Abracadabra Hotel. Together they solve the mystery, and begin to form an unlikely friendship.

Editor review

1 review
What's the magic word?
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
HOCUS POCUS HOTEL, by Michael Dahl, is two stories in one, kid-friendly mysteries set in the marvelous, mysterious, almost magical Abracadabra Hotel. A quickly read, nicely designed book, it certainly held my interest, even if it only rarely piqued my curiosity.

The action begins when the school tough, Tyler Yu, who works at the hotel, secretly asks Charlie Hitchcock, a boy with a “picture-perfect memory” to help him find a missing hotel resident, Mr. Madagascar. Charlie likes solving mysteries anyway, and is happy to put his observational skills and photographic memory to use, especially since it allows him to explore such a fabulous place. He does in fact solve the mystery of the disappearing magician, as well as a second mystery involving a haunting, missing shower curtains and a ghostly voice.

Despite the marvelous setting and quirky cast of characters, the central trope—the unlikely duo of Ty and Charlie—remains somewhat unlikely. The writer makes an effort to give depth to Ty, pointing out how much smarter he is than he appears to be at school, but it doesn’t ring true. Indeed, the blossoming friendship between Charlie and the mysterious elevator operator actually feels more realistic, and certainly more fraught with possibility.

Perhaps the most interesting character in the book is the hotel itself. Built by a magician called Abracadabra, the hotel houses not just retired practitioners of prestidigitation, but a bowling alley, moving walls and a fully equipped theater. What wonderful secrets it must have! What stories it could tell!

These two stories are a good start, and there is a story arc that suggests at least one – but likely many more stories to come.
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User reviews

1 review
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0(1)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0(1)
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A fun magical mystery for middle graders!
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
A new favorite series that my kids and I are definitely going to follow! Hocus Pocus Hotel is the first book in a new magical-mystery series created by Michael Dahl for middle graders.

The Hocus Pocus Hotel is actually called The Abracadabra named after the famous magician that built it for magicians to have a place to live, practice and perform their acts. Tyler and his family live and run this hotel - but lately, they have been experiencing some odd disturbances and disappearances and Ty thinks that people are going to stop coming to stay at the hotel because they may think that it is haunted.
Charlie is a smart boy that tries to keep out of trouble. When he receives a note from Ty, he thinks that it is his invitation to finally get a beating of some sort from the school bully. Surprisingly, it was a mandatory invite to meet Ty at the hotel. Ty needs Charlie's smarts and photographic memory to help him figure out the mysterious things that have been happening throughout the hotel. And Charlie is the perfect kid for the job!

There are numerous mysterious to be solved! And with each one, we learn just how magicians do their magic. Charlie and his photographic memory doesn't miss a single clue and it is so much fun to see him unravel the magic tricks through illustrations that he draws to show us exactly how the trick is performed. The perfect read for any kid who loves a little mystery and finally getting to see how magic tricks are really performed!
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