Book review

The Third-Class Genie by Robert Leeson (1975)

You will have come across some of the ideas in this book before, but don't let that spoil your fun. Here's a genie. He lives in a beer can though and doesn't necessarily work the same kind of magic as Aladdin's Genie of the Lamp all those years ago.

Alec Bowden, known as Skinny, keeps a running score in his head for the kind of life he's living:

Today disasters were away down the field while the other team was still in the changing room.

You would think that finding a genie in a beer can, snoring in the gutter, might even things up a bit but it really doesn't seem to. Alec, you see, has found the wrong kind of genie, member of the Order of Genies, Third Class.

Anyway, Alec has a lot on his plate at the moment because new boy at school, Ginger Wallace, won't let him go down Boner's Street any more on pain of a bashing. But Boner's Street is Alec's short cut home, through the loose plank into the derelict canal site, Alec's secret hide-out.

Alec's new ally, Abu of the Beer Can, does try to help. He inflicts on Ginger Wallace the Great Itch to keep him away from school for a while. But it all ends in a mess for Abu because he exceeds his powers so much that he is left exhausted and unable to return himself to his normal state of invisibility. Alec is left with a mountainous black slave in ancient silk robes standing in the middle of Boner's Street.

Hmm. Alec is going to need some kind of magic to get Abu out of this ... Who can he turn to for help? Read on to find out.

A fun read. Oh! Watch out for Grandad. He lives in a caravan in the back yard and mulls his beer with the soldering iron. Great.

What can I read next?

Funny magic is quite a difficult classification. You might like to look at this one by Diana Wynne Jones:

Or you could try this one by Philip Pullman:

Actually, you might be pleasantly surprised by this one by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

Or you could just lie back and have a really good laugh. Have a look at this one by Lewis Carroll:

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