#452 – Hocus Pocus Hotel #2: The Return of Abracadabra by Michael Dahl & Lisa K. Weber

hocus pocus 2The Return of Abracadabra (Hocus Pocus Hotel #2)

by Michael Dahl

Lisa K. Weber, illustrator

Capstone Young Readers


Back Cover:  After fifty years, the master magician Abracadabra has returned. But so has his greatest rival—the Great and Powerful Theopolis. In this second book in Michael Dahl’s masterful, mystery series, nothing is what it seems . . . and magic waits through every doorway.

Opening:  “On Friday at three o’clock, Tyler Yu and Charlie Hitchcock stood together just inside the back doors of Blackstone Middle School. Each of them clutched a packet of bright yellow paper.”


Abracadabra Hotel, once the scene for magic shows of every kind by magicians of every type, is not as busy as it once was. Just ask the elevator operator Mr. Brack. He has worked at the hotel since the day it opened. Brack has seen the place crowded and now sees it sparsely occupied. In book 1, which I have not read, Tyler Yu and Charlie Hitchcock uncovered a couple of secrets. In book 2, there will be more, bigger secrets. Maybe the biggest of them all. Mr. Abracadabra, who owns the hotel, will be returning after hiding away for fifty years. No one has seen him in all those years—or so everyone believes, but with a magician, one never knows.

fr1Charlie & Tyler

The Great and Powerful Theopolis, self-proclaimed world’s best magician, is the antagonistic antagonist. He is the Saturday morning cartoon villain, always acting as if he is the King’s king, but is really just a jerk with an attitude. He has a way of scaring people, more like a bully than a world-class magician. It is hard to like him. Theopolis is at the hotel—staying on the never occupied thirteenth floor—with the intention of taking over the hotel. When magician Abracadabra returns, Theopolis pushes him into a bet. If Abracadabra, aided by Charlie and Tyler, cannot figure out how Theopolis does an elaborate and impossible magic act, Theopolis wins Abracadabra Hotel. Feeling in a corner, Abracadabra accepts the bet. They have about 24 hours to figure out how Theopolis does the trick.

I like Hocus Pocus Hotel because of the daring way the author exposes the tricks played on Charlie and Tyler. Charlie, the smart and grounded “detective,” is the one who explains these and others. Tyler is smarter than he thinks, provides the muscle, and is rather gullible. Between the two, the boys have a dynamic secret-solving team. As the story moves along, the magic gets more complicated, as do the diagrams used to explain the trick. It’s fun knowing how these tricks are done. I doubt I could recreate the tricks, but it might be fun to take these diagrams and try.

fr3The Great & Powerful Theopolis

Hocus Pocus Hotel will entertain both boys and girls. The action never stops. I like that Tyler has doubts about Charlie’s loyalties. This is typical thinking for a bully to worry about those around him. Then again, Charlie has figured out two important secrets without sharing them with Tyler (at Mr. Brack’s request).There is no “dark magic” in the story, nor any violence. The “win-the-hotel” trick Theopolis pulls on Mr. Abracadabra is complicated, has a lot of showmanship, but is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

I enjoyed reading the story, which went by quickly. Hocus Pocus is readable out of order and the book at hand will make sense, but I recommend reading them in order. I would have liked to read about the boys becoming friends. Tyler bullied Charlie at school in book 1. Knowing how the boys got past this is not essential to enjoy book 2, it just would have been nice to know.

fr4Mr. Abracadabra

Hocus Pocus Hotel is a magical series. The writing is good, the illustrations are fun, and the story pulls you in and keeps you guessing. If you like magic you will love Hocus Pocus Hotel. If you are not a fan of magic, as I am not, Hocus Pocus Hotel will still thrill you. The story is about friendship, loyalty, honor, and trust. Diagrams demystify each magic trick in the story. With keen observation, the reader can figure out what is happening and solve the secrets alongside the Charlie and Ty, if not faster. I wasn’t so fast. The final page wraps up the story nicely, while also making me yearn for book #3, which I hope is available soon. Until then, you can find me in Abracadabra Hotel, reading Hocus Pocus Hotel, #1.


The Return of Abracadabra (Hocus Pocus Hotel #2)

by Michael Dahl    website    facebook    Capstone Bio

Lisa K. Weber, illustrator    website    blog    linkedin

Capstone Young Readers    website    facebook    twitter    pinterest     youtube

Released August 1, 2013

ISBN:  978-1-4342-4721-6

216 pages

Age 8 to 12


HOCUS POCUS HOTEL #2: THE RETURN OF ABRACADABRA. Text copyright © 2013 by Michael Dahl. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Lisa K. Weber. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN


Also by Michael Dahl:  Goodnight Baseball (Sports Illustrated Kids)





24 thoughts on “#452 – Hocus Pocus Hotel #2: The Return of Abracadabra by Michael Dahl & Lisa K. Weber

    • Julie, you do know this is a fictional hotel? You are not going to be able to check in or check out. 😆
      Do find the book, it is a great story and there is a great picture of the outside of the hotel. So, what mysterious hotels have you stayed in? 🙂


      • oh, way to burst my bubble, I was so looking forward to staying in it. I think my love of mysterious hotels, first began after watching a Disney movie with Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst. I wish I could remember the name of it. he he, OOOh, I will have to check out the picture of the outside of the hotel, for further research, he he, you know what I am referring to…..


    • Isn’t it terrific? I wonder what Mr. Abracadabra’s first job was before he was a magician. A doorman? What about Theopolis? Hm, a politician maybe? What do you think? (Love that post, by the way.)


      • LOL! I am not sure about Mr. Abracadabra. I tell lots of parents, teachers and young readers, especially boys about the series. I think this is a great book to get boys interested in reading books.


  1. Great review! I actually have read the 1st one and loved it. I think you would too. It is a great book, and it sounds like the 2nd one follows suit. The characters were great, the illustrations were awesome, and I too enjoyed the diagrams describing the magic tricks. I didn’t know the 2nd book was out ~ thanks for sharing ~ now I’ll have to add this to my list. Have a great day!

    Paul R. Hewlett


    • I really loved the diagrams of the tricks, too. I had asked for one of those illustrations but didn’t get it. Guess it is a secret only book buyers get to know. I never liked magic but knowing how some is done is actually cool. Looking forward to book 1.


    • Wow, Genevieve, that’s actually my BEST trick! It’s quite perfected, too, having begun with insatiable bottle feeding 😉 Actually, when I did clown work, I did know simple magic (self-taught). I was no magician, but it was enough to entertain kids!


      • So you got paid for being yourself? **snicker** That is quite a trick! 😆 I would love to see a picture of you as a clown. Did you have a red nose and multicolor big hair?


        • Well, I was being myself and just happened to be wearing a clown suit—MANY times—and people, surprisingly, DID pay me to do it 😀 When I first started, my outfit was slightly more elaborate as far as I wore heavier makeup (though not the white face ’cause it was more intimidating to some kids) and had a red glitter top hat with a bow in the back and ribbons hanging down. I eventually simplified the face make up and then made a very fancy, decorative head band instead of the top hat. It made it easier for me before and after the gigs since the hat would make me sweat and I’d be forced to wash my hair every time. Plus it was very uncomfortable. And I think the only time I ever did a wig was for Halloween MANY years ago, when I was young, before I ever even THOUGHT of doing it as work. I went into clowning (really, just a “fun” mom in a clown suit) when I could no longer work a steady job. Being an artist, the face painting was a natural, but I taught myself simple magic tricks and basic balloon animals. Now I just do face painting 🙂


    • Cupcake, I like that trick. Could you teach my cats that trick? They are so picky lately. I hope you have not perfected one trick the two of mine do so well: returning their food at a later time that day. Not a crowd favorite.


  2. High praise, Sue! 🙂 I can say, I LOVE the cover and colors! LOVE the illustrations! And the trailer had a subtle “Harry Potter” magical quality (due to the music hinting at the HP John Williams feel). When I see it Barnes, I know I’ll check it out! 🙂 Thanks, Sue!


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