Alexander Fox and the Amazing Mind Reader
By John C. Clayton
Prometheus Books, 1998
Children's book review by P.J. Rooks
Alexander Fox and the Amazing Mind Reader is the story of skeptical young science investigator, Alex Fox, and his encounters with a traveling mind-reader who calls himself Arcady Mystikos.
Mr. Mystikos is, in fact, more pick-pocket than psychic and he has all the kids and grown-ups in Alex's town convinced that he can find their "misplaced" jewelry (hence, pick-pocket), read their minds, tell their futures and other staggering feats of extra-sensory perception, when in fact, what he is doing is regaling his audiences with a few simple card tricks and other petty sleights of hand.
Alexander Fox has to fly very much in the face of all his friends' and even their parents' opinions to prove that they are being duped by a con-man. By consulting with a local magician, one who is honest and uses magic as a form of entertainment, (rather than as a way to coax the gullible out of their cash), Alex is able to repeat the "mind-reader's" tricks at a party in front of all the people who had just been oh-so-very impressed with Mr. Mystikos' amazing abilities.
Alexander Fox and the Amazing Mind Reader is a great story for your child's critical thinking collection. Author John Clayton does a good job of showing us the awe and wonder by which people often make more of something than what really is there. Even Alexander Fox runs up against things he can't explain or understand... yet. Our young hero-scientist clings faithfully to the notion that he will get to the bottom of things by applying logic and research, while everyone else just lets their reasoning abilities fly right out the window in favor of something much more specious but superficially entertaining.
Read more of P.J.'s reviews.
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