Dorko the Magnificent

by Andrea Beaty (Author)

Dorko the Magnificent
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
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.
--Kirkus Reviews

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

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Publishers Weekly

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. Agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. (Apr.)

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 4-6--Fifth grade has been tough for Robbie Darko, an aspiring illusionist who can't perform even the simplest trick without accidentally setting things on fire. His dad constantly travels for work, his mom tries to help make ends meet with a demanding new job, his teachers are fed up with his havoc-wreaking magic tricks, and his little brother is a huge pain. To make matters worse, Robbie is asked to give up his bedroom to eccentric and unrelentingly cantankerous Grandma Melvyn (actually, his great-great-aunt). Robbie eventually learns that Grandma Melvyn was once a celebrated magician. With the help of his affable friend Cat, he slowly earns Grandma's approval and, ultimately, her trust and affection. She not only coaches Robbie in showmanship and sleight of hand, but she also guides him down the path to self-confidence and self-discipline. Robbie's maturation is ultimately tested when Grandma Melvyn makes a final trip to the hospital. Beaty develops well-rounded main and supporting characters with genuine flaws and emotions, skillfully building their relationships. Though the protagonist's flashback narration occasionally meanders, it has an authentic middle-grade voice that will have readers laughing out loud. The moments where Robbie takes responsibility for his mistakes and shows vulnerability will serve as positive examples for young audiences. Satisfying and enjoyable, Dorko will engage reluctant and voracious readers alike.--Elly Schook, Jamieson Elementary School, Chicago

Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Andrea Beaty
Andrea Beaty se crió en el sur de Illinois en una ciudad tan pequeña que conocía a todo el mundo y todo el mundo la conocía a ella. Pasaba los veranos correteando por los campos y bosques en busca de aventuras. Le gustaba mucho leer, sobre todo libros de misterio. Y su ambición secreta era protagonizar un musical en Broadway. Estudió Biología e Informática la Universidad del Sur de Illinois. Luego trabajó para una compañía de software de ordenadores. Ahora vive en Chicago con su familia. Visita muchas escuelas cada año para compartir su amor por la lectura haciendo también talleres de escritura con niños y educadores.

David Roberts nació en 1970 en el Reino Unido. Ha ilustrado un gran número de libros para autores muy conocidos tanto para adultos como niños.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Harry N. Abrams
Publication date
April 20, 2013
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015
Young Hoosier Book Award
Nominee 2016 - 2016

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