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Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power

Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power

Written by David Pogue

Narrated by David Pogue


Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power

Written by David Pogue

Narrated by David Pogue

ratings:
4.5/5 (3 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Released:
Apr 27, 2010
ISBN:
9781441864437
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Abby Carnelia is an average sixth grader. She gets along okay with her parents, does pretty well in school, and has an annoying little brother. There's absolutely nothing remarkable about her at all-that is, until the day when she happens to tug on her earlobes while standing in front of a hard-boiled egg.

That's the day Abby discovers there's something very, very special about her after all: she has a magical power, and there are some people who will do anything to find out where it came from.

Released:
Apr 27, 2010
ISBN:
9781441864437
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

David Pogue is the host of twenty science specials on PBS NOVA, a five-time Emmy Award–winning technology and science correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, and a New York Times bestselling author.  


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What people think about Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power

4.7
3 ratings / 3 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    This review was taken directly from my review at Amazon.com.The title up there pretty much sums it up, it's a good story with some beginner mistakes, but I'm going to spend a few paragraphs saying what I just said. It'll be fun!Now, first things first, let me, uh, disclaim that I have an advance reader's copy. It says right on the back that this is an "uncorrected proof" that "should not be quoted without comparison with the finished book". Fair enough. I don't *have* a copy of the finished book, so I'm going to just go ahead and quote from this one anyway. It's possible that everything I point out has been fixed, and if so I'll be more than happy to edit this review if corrected.So, the story goes that here's Abby, and one day she discovers she has the world's stupidest magical power. (Actually, it's not, but we don't know that yet.) She can make a hard-boiled egg twirl by looking at it and pulling on both her earlobes. It is absolutely and utterly useless. There is exactly one use for this skill that I can think of, and the only reason I can think of it is because it was used in the book.You know, a lot of people, when they find out they have a stupid little skill like that, they'd just forget about it. They'd file it away in their mind under all the other useless things they know how to do, like singing the alphabet backwards or patting their head while rubbing their tummy. But if Abby did that I guess we wouldn't have a book, so she spends a few chapters trying to find out more and being frustrated, and eventually ends up at summer camp where - to her surprise! - she finds that somebody DOES know about kids like her. Yeah, she's not the only one with a weird, stupid, and useless skill.Anyway, you, as a reader of books, will be utterly unsurprised to find out that there's a dastardly plot afoot regarding these kids and it's up to them (and their, uh, powers!) to stop it.The story is great, it's funny, it's a little exciting, and it's just a fun book. I would be glad to give this book five stars. (Well, four and a half, but I'd round up.)Except that there are some very, as I said, amateurish errors in the writing, things that yank me out of the story and remind me that I'm reading a book. I'm not going to list every last one of them, because they're almost all the SAME error, but with different words:The author breaks the cardinal rule of "show, don't tell", almost always while doing a massive and random Point of View switch and for little background information instead of anything crucial to the plot.He does this repeatedly, and it's really annoying. Once or twice, sure, but this is popping up every chapter. I'll give one example, a conversation, that's indicative of the whole problem. (You might not think it's a problem, I guess. After seeing it so often in the same book, I certainly do.) My comments are in the brackets."So, I mean..." Abby began. "Do you guys all have - "She looked hopefully from face to face, hoping that somebody would start explaining what was going on there. But she didn't want to dive right in and start talking about how she had a true magical power. That hadn't worked out so great the last time she told someone. [We know this. We spent the past 12 or so chapters reading about it. It doesn't need to be spelled out for us, though one incident like this in a scene is hardly glaring. Let's keep going.]"Special talents?" It was Ricky, finishing her sentence. [Again, we can tell what Ricky's doing.]She turned. "Yeah!" she said. "Do you?""Kinda," he said. He looked around at the others, nervously. "Tell us!" said Eliza.Ricky looked down at his lap, too embarrassed to speak. [First of all, this book is almost always from Abby's point of view, and it certainly was only a few lines ago. Why are we now in Ricky's thoughts? Secondly, we can tell from how he spoke "nervously" and how he's looking in his lap that he's embarrassed. Pointing this out highlights that we're reading a book, not witnessing actual events. If it's so important to spell it out, why not just say he was blushing?][We have a few lines of chatter, let's skip ahead slightly.]"I have a rat.""A rat?" said Eliza."Yeah, a pet," said Ricky. "What's wrong with that?""It's just gross," said Eliza."How is it any grosser than a mouse?" asked Ricky, annoyed. "It's just a big mouse." [Try taking out the word "annoyed" in this sentence. Can you still tell how Ricky feels at having to defend his pet? If so - and I think you can! - the sentence is probably stronger without the adjective. If you can't, the dialog should be changed to reflect his feelings.]Ben, who was still new to the concept that there might be people with actual supernatural powers, was leaning forward and listening hard. [Again, the PoV shift! Why are we in Ben's thoughts? No, really, WHY are we in Ben's thoughts? We know what Ben thinks, we were there when he found out about Abby's little gift! Plus, we can tell his feelings by his actions, which is as it should be.][More dialog, and then....]Abby wasn't especially thrilled about going first; she had grown so use to keeping her freakishness a secret that it was almost second nature to hide it. Still, she'd had a little practice, she'd told Morgan, and Ben, and Ferd, and the world hadn't ended. [This is 41 words of we-already-knew-that. The reader didn't forget the events of the past 12 chapters. Really. We can tell that Abby feels reluctant by how she acts, and we can guess why because we're not stupid.]Anyway, it goes on like this for the entire conversation. The worst part is when Eliza brushes back her hair, "a habit of hers when she was nervous". Funnily enough, all the times she has to feel uncomfortable or nervous in the book, we never see her push back her hair, which would've been a better way to show this particular character quirk.It doesn't seem so annoying to you now, but try a whole book of this sort of narration and you'll see why I bothered to spend 5 minutes typing that part out!In a similar vein, the author repeatedly breaks his own suspense. Here we are, the kids are in danger - and he's stopping to tell us that "years later" Abby did this or that. Huh? It's usually pretty much off-topic, and, well, it keeps anybody from worrying about any of them, because we know they get out okay.The problem isn't a few instances of these sorts of problems. You could (and probably would) overlook that. The problem is that they fill the whole book. When I glanced at the author's bibliography at Amazon, I saw that this is his first foray into fiction. He's got a talent, he just needs to work on these little things a bit more so that I'm not sitting there looking at the book wondering, again, why I can't just lose myself in the story. Frankly, I don't know why the editor didn't catch most of these. (But then again, maybe the editor did, and the published novel is perfect. If so, somebody please tell me so I can fix this!)
  • (5/5)
    Very cute story. Abby discovers she can make a boiled egg spin, and this triggers a cascade of events from funny to scary.
  • (5/5)
    When I was a little girl I read Norman Bridwell's 'The Dog Frog Book', about a dog who floats down a stream in a large pan. Forever after, I sometimes wondered when I looked at my dog whether this was the sort of thing he might do sometime without ever telling me. Also, I read 'Little Witch' by Anna Elizabeth Bennett as a child and now, at age 49, I have a row of little re-purposed glass spice bottles along the side of my tub. They hold brightly colored bath gels that I can mix into the tub like a magic potion (this makes sense if you've read the book). The point is, I think David Pogue's 'Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power' has the potential to be THAT kind of long-lasting, 'the world is a magical and wonderful place' book for a child, one that they will carry with them well into adulthood and perhaps never lose that delicious touch of magic. This book is a happy gift to the world and I'm glad I read it.