Thursday, August 6, 2009

Enchanting Review: Sir John Hargrave's Mischief Maker's Manual

YA Nonfiction
Grosset & Dunlap
ISBN# 978-0-448-44982-1
272 pages
$15.99 US ($17.50 CAN)
Hardbound - Available June 2009

Rating: 5 Enchantments

This nonfiction guide for mischief Makers is an excellent step by step quick guide to playing pranks in a safe and non-vandalizing way. Many of the pranks are classic pranks that have been played before, but this book de-mystifies the methods and the materials used. A few new twists are introduced on some old pranks and a history is given for some pranks like the whoopee cushion. Some of the pranks can be performed alone, but others will require the reader to find a partner or team who can be trusted to help with the prank and not leak information.

The first section of the book introduces the basics of how to prank, how to stay out of trouble and some very basic pranks. The book progresses from simple pranks to more complex pranks that require more preparation and planning to pull off. One of the more important concepts introduced in the book is staying safe and making sure that nobody is likely to be injured.

My favorite pranks in the book are the tuna cookies and the smoke bombs made from old ping-pong balls. These seem fairly simple to bring off and use items I can easily lay my hands on. I like the layout of the book, progressing from simple to more complicated pranks. The diagrams are very easy to understand and make it simple to prepare materials for pranks like the smoke bombs or the spewing soda trick. I will definitely follow the author’s advice and hide this book so that my ‘victims’ won’t suspect me as the prankster. The reversible cover is great for hiding the book when reading in a public place.

The author, Sir John Hargrave is well known as the editor of ZUG, the first humor website, where you can find additional pranks, software and sound files listed in the book and other information about pranks and the author.

Kathy Johnson
July 2009

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