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Peter Eldin (1939-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

england london illustrated magic

Born 1939, in Welwyn Garden City, Hertford-shire, England; Ethnicity: "English." Hobbies and other interests: "Work is my hobby, but I also enjoy walking, cooking, and doing absolutely nothing;" conjuring.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Barron's Educational Series, 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788.

Career

Accountant and office manager, 1955-73; full-time freelance writer, 1973—. Quiz compiler for British radio and television; scriptwriter and occasional performer/guest speaker on several television shows.

Member

Magic Circle (London, England).

Writings

Amaze and Amuse Your Friends, illustrated by Phil Emms and Terry Burton, Pan Books (London, England), 1973.

Peter Eldin

The Book of Aeroplanes, New English Library (London, England), 1975.

The Book of Cars, New English Library (London, England), 1975.

The Book of Ships, New English Library (London, England), 1975.

The Book of Trains, New English Library (London, England), 1975.

Fun and Games with Paper, illustrated by Phil Emms, Pan Books (London, England), 1976.

The Armada TV Quiz Book, illustrated by Colin Hawkins, Armada (London, England), 1976.

(Reviser) Encyclopedia of Modern Knowledge, Ward Lock (London, England), 1976.

The Trickster's Handbook, illustrated by Roger Smith, Armada (London, England), 1976, Sterling (New York, NY), 1989.

The Secret Agent's Handbook, illustrated by Roger Smith, Armada (London, England), 1977.

How to Be a Detective, illustrated by John Adams and Robin Anderson, Beaver (London, England), 1978.

Things Aren't What They Seem, illustrated by Susie La-come, Pan Books (London, England), 1978.

The New TV Quiz Book, illustrated by Gareth Rees-Roberts, Armada (London, England), 1978.

Bikes, illustrated by Dave F. Smith, Silver Burdett (Morristown, NJ), 1979.

Isn't That Amazing!, illustrated by Juliet Stanwell-Smith, Armada (London, England), 1979.

Stewpot's Holiday Fun Book, ITV Books, 1979.

(As Gordon Hill) Secrets of the Unknown, illustrated by Donald Harley, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1979.

(As Jason Quark) Space Explorer's Galaxy Guide, illustrated by Phil Emms, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1979.

The Whizzkid's Handbook (also see below), illustrated by Roger Smith, Armada (London, England), 1979.

The Young Road Traveller's Handbook, Hamlyn (London, England), 1979.

(As Gordon Hill) Secrets of Wartime Adventure, illustrated by Donald Harley, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1980.

Beaver Book of Word Puzzles, illustrated by Lin Mei Lan, Hamlyn (London, England), 1980.

The Explorer's Handbook, illustrated by Roger Smith, William Collins (London, England), 1980.

Famous Names in Invention, Wayland, 1980.

"Top of the Pops" Quiz, illustrated by Alan Case, Armada (London, England), 1980.

Hey Presto!, illustrated by Jane Faber, Granada (London, England), 1980.

(As Gordon Hill) Secrets of Film and Television, illustrated by Phil Emms, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1981.

Complete Practical Joker, illustrated by Phil Emms, Sparrow (London, England), 1981.

Let's Make Magic, Octopus (London, England), 1981.

Sports Quiz, Beaver (London, England), 1981.

(Adaptor) Whizzkid's Guide (television series; based on Eldin's The Whizzkid's Handbook), ITV, 1981.

Match Play: Safe Puzzles, Games, and Tricks with Match-sticks, illustrated by Pinpoint Design Company, Granada (London, England), 1982.

The Millionaire's Handbook, illustrated by Roger Smith, Armada (London, England), 1982.

Skool Graffiti, illustrated by John Miller, Sparrow (London, England), 1982.

The Whizzkid's Handbook—2, illustrated by Roger Smith, Armada (London, England), 1982.

The Whizzkid's Handbook—3, illustrated by Roger Smith, Armada (London, England), 1983.

(As Martyn Hamer) First Look: Cats, illustrated by Christopher Forsey, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1983.

(As Martyn Hamer) First Look: The Night Sky, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1983.

(As Martyn Hamer) First Look: Trees, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1983.

Skool for Laughs, illustrated by Shelagh McGee, Arrow Books (London, England), 1983.

Body Magic, illustrated by Terry Riley, Beaver (London, England), 1984.

Dotty Definitions, illustrated by Jez Alborough, Piccolo (London, England), 1984.

The Spookster's Handbook, illustrated by Roger Smith, William Collins (London, England), 1984, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1989.

Woolly Jumper Joke Book, illustrated by Colin West, Sparrow (London, England), 1984.

(As Martyn Hamer) Comets, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1984.

How to Be Top, illustrated by Elaine Mills and Rob Shone, Dragon (London, England), 1985.

Pocket Book of Magic, Kingfisher (London, England), 1985, published as The Magic Handbook, Wanderer Books (New York, NY), 1985.

The Riddler's Dictionary, illustrated by Jez Alborough, Piccolo (London, England), 1985.

The Professional Touch: Magic, Macmillan (London, England), 1985.

Doctor, Doctor, illustrated by Kate Shannon, Pan Books (London, England), 1986.

Whizzkid's Whizzbook, illustrated by Roger Smith, William Collins (London, England), 1986.

Who's Zoo, illustrated by Kate Shannon, Piccolo (London, England), 1986.

Amazing Blunders and Bungles (also see below), illustrated by Kim Blundell, Octopus Books, 1987, published as Amazing Pranks and Blunders, Sterling (New York, NY), 1988.

Amazing Ghosts and Ghouls (also see below), illustrated by Kim Blundell, Octopus Books, 1987, published as Amazing Ghosts and Other Mysteries, Sterling (New York, NY), 1988.

Amazing Hoaxes and Frauds (also see below), illustrated by Kim Blundell, Octopus Books, 1987.

Amazing Mysteries and Phenomena (also see below), illustrated by Kim Blundell, Octopus Books, 1987.

Giant Book of Tricks and Puzzles, illustrated by Peter Stephenson and Jillian Burgess, Pan Books (London, England), 1987.

Soap Quiz Book, Associated Newspapers, 1987.

Vampire Joke Book, illustrated by Jean Baylis, Hamlyn (London, England), 1987.

Smart Alec's Wally Jokes, Ward Lock (New York, NY), 1988.

(As Gorgon Hill) Card and Conjuring Tricks, illustrated by Peter Bull, Ward Lock (New York, NY), 1989.

Crazy Magic, illustrated by Jane Laycock and Shelagh McGee, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1989.

Crazy Kites, illustrated by Jane Laycock and Shelagh McGee, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1990.

D.I.Y. Joke Book, illustrated by Alan Rowe, Hamlyn Books, 1989.

File-o-Trix, illustrated by David James, Marvin's Magic, 1989.

Jokes and Quotes for Speeches, Ward Lock (New York, NY), 1989.

Silver, Copper, Brass Routines, Martin Breeze, 1989.

Kingfisher Children's Handbook, Kingfisher Books (London, England), 1990.

The Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles Joke Book, William Collins (London, England), 1990.

Funny Business, illustrated by Harry Venning, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1990.

The Dustbin Joke Book: A Load of Old Rubbish, illustrated by Jo Wright, William Collins (London, England), 1990.

Green Fingers Activity Book, illustrated by Stuart Trotter, Hippo (London, England), 1991.

Gruesome Grub, illustrated by Alan Rowe, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1991.

Have You Heard This One?, illustrated by Jo Wright, William Collins (London, England), 1991.

(With others) How to Be Awesome, illustrated by IBH Advertising and Design, William Collins (London, England), 1991.

Amazing Spooks and Mysteries (contains Amazing Ghosts and Ghouls and Amazing Mysteries and Phenomena), Dean (London, England), 1992.

Amazing Blunders and Bungles (contains Amazing Blunders and Bungles and Amazing Hoaxes and Frauds), Dean (London, England), 1992.

Crazy Games, illustrated by Mike Roberts, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1992.

Eggcellent Egg Fun Book, illustrated by Ant Parker, Hippo (London, England), 1992.

Europe Activity Book, illustrated by John Lobban, Lady-bird Books, 1992.

Magic Science, illustrated by Stuart Trotter, Hippo (London, England), 1992.

Mysterious Book of Magic, Blitz Editions, 1992.

The Outrageous Organizer, Scholastic (London, England), 1993.

How 2, illustrated by David Farris, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1993.

Quiz Facts: Plants and Animals, Kingfisher (London, England), 1993.

Magic Tricks, illustrated by Heather Clarke, Henderson (Woodbridge, England), 1994.

Magic Illusions, illustrated by Heather Clarke, Henderson (Woodbridge, England), 1994.

Magic Skills, illustrated by William Rudling, Henderson (Woodbridge, England), 1994.

Animal Word Whackers, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1996.

Mad Jack: Card Tricks, illustrated by Dave King, 1996.

Magic Tricks: Get Started in a New Craft with Easy-to-Follow Projects for Beginners, Apple (London, England), 1996.

The Most Excellent Book of How to Be a Magician, Copper Beech Books (Brookfield, CT), 1996.

The Most Excellent Book of How to Do Card Tricks, Copper Beech Books (Brookfield, CT), 1996.

Best Ever Book of Magic, Kingfisher Books (London, England), 1997.

Magic, Kingfisher (New York, NY), 1997.

(With Jane Willis and Angela Lansbury) The Complete Speechmaker, Ward Lock (London, England), 1997.

Hands On! Magic, Adams Media (Holbrook, MA), 1999.

(With Ronne Randall) 1,001 Jokes, illustrated by Barry Green and others, Funfax (Woodbridge, England), 1999.

(As Martyn Hamer) Disgusting Facts, Parragon (Bath, England), 2000.

(As Martyn Hamer; with Karl Shaw) Top Ten, Parragon (Bath, England), 2000.

(As Gordon Hill; with Jackie Andrews) Sixteen Card Tricks, Tangerine Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(As Gordon Hill) Magic Tricks, Tangerine Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(As Gordon Hill) Four Ace Reverse, illustrated by Heather Clarke, Tangerine Press (New York, NY), 2000.

The Incredible Floating Dollar, illustrated by Heather Clarke, Tangerine Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Jason Hook and Jillian Powell) Did You Know?, Parragon (Bath, England), 2000.

(As Martyn Hamer; with Jamie Stokes and others) Nasty Nature: The Awful Truth, illustrated by Mike Phillips, 2001.

Smarties Dinosaur Jokes, Constable & Robinson (London, England), 2001.

The World of Magic, Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 2001.

Magic with Cards, Copper Beech Books (Brookfield, CT), 2002, new edition, Franklin Watts (London, England), 2003.

Total Magic Mania, Silver Dolphin, 2002.

Simple Magic, Copper Beech Books (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

Science Magic, Copper Beech Books (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

Mind Tricks, Copper Beech Books (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

Smarties Wizard Jokes, Constable & Robinson (London, England), 2002.

Essential Facts, Top That! Kids (Woodbridge, England), 2003.

(With John Clark) The Big Box of Science Fun, Barron's Educational Series (Hauppauge, NY), 2004.

Also author of How to Be a Genius, William Collins; Magic and Conjuring, Ward Lock; Most Excellent Card Tricks, Aladdin; Most Excellent Magic Tricks, Aladdin; Party Magician Kit, Simon & Schuster; Sainsbury's Book of Magic, Walker Books; Smelly Science, Robinson Publishing; Start-a-Craft: Magic, Quintet; Time Trials: Adding and Subtracting, Time Trials: Multiplying and Dividing, Time Trials: Fractions, and Time Trials: Spelling, all Grandreams; Turtle Power!, William Collins; and (as Gordon Hill) Making Magic.

Grolier Year Book, assistant editor, 1973; Daily Mail Year Book, editor, 1987; Highlight magazine, editor, 1983-84; Magic Circular, editor, 1990-98; Abracadabra magazine, relief editor, 1998-2000.

"COMPLETE SPY COURSE" SERIES

Spy Microfax: Hq Security, illustrated by Mike Spoor, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1997.

Spy Microfax: Hiding Places, illustrated by Phil Garner, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1997.

Spy Microfax: Crafty Codes, illustrated by Graham Round, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1997.

Spy Microfax: Disguises, illustrated by Graham Round, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1997.

Spy Microfax: Invisible Writing, illustrated by Phil Garner, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1997.

Spy Microfax: Spy Tips, illustrated by Graham Round, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1997.

Spy Microfax: Keeping Track, illustrated by Mike Spoor, Dorling Kindersley (London, England), 1997.

Work in Progress

The Business of Freelance Writing.

Sidelights

British author Peter Eldin has written over two hundred books, mostly nonfiction. His most common subject is magic, particularly how-to books for children who would like to learn a few tricks. Two such books, The Most Excellent Book of How to Be a Magician and The Most Excellent Book of How to Do Card Tricks, have been praised by critics for covering the full breadth of skills any good magician needs. In these two volumes, Eldin not only explains the sleight of hand necessary to get through the mechanics of a trick, but also discusses how to create a costume, how to talk to an audience, and how to organize a group of tricks into a full-fledged act. The Most Excellent Book of How to Do Card Tricks "will make a hit with budding performers," wrote School Library Journal contributor Judith L. Miller. The Most Excellent Book of How to Be a Magician is "colorful," Carolyn Phelan noted in Booklist, and School Library Journal critic Pamela K. Bomboy also thought that the book's "bright theatrical format" would attract young readers.

Several of Eldin's magic books have been combined into packages that include instructions on how to do tricks as well as many of the materials and props needed. One such package is The Big Box of Magic, which includes the tricks "The Knot That's Not"—a disappearing knot—"There's Money in It"—pulling a coin from a dinner roll—and "The Miser's Dream"—pulling coins out of the air—among others and the book The World of Magic. In Magic, Eldin looks at magic from a different perspective, explaining the history of the magician's art. His tour of the world of magic begins with the earliest recorded instances of magic tricks, in ancient Egypt, and extends through today's modern, special-effects-laden spectaculars. Some of the most famous magicians—including Harry Houdini and David Copperfield—are included in an alphabetical listing of the world's greatest magicians, and several enduring, classic magic tricks are also discussed, although, unlike many of Eldin's other books, their secrets are not revealed.

Another book with practical entertaining tips, Eldin's The Spookster's Handbook gives instructions for scary illusions and pranks that are appropriate for Halloween, including how to give the appearance of a live, severed head and how to create scary sound effects. "Eldin takes on a pleasant, friendly tone in the book," which "should have a wide audience," Leslie Chamberlin commented in School Library Journal.

Eldin turns to a different subject in a series of "how to be a spy" books collected as the "Complete Spy Course." In titles such as Invisible Writing, Hiding Places, and Disguises, Eldin explains some of the skills and tricks of the trade of espionage. He is also the author of several books of jokes, including Smarties Wizard Jokes. This volume includes such groaners as "What do you call a witch who goes to the beach but is scared of the sea? A chicken sand-witch"; and "What do you get if you cross a sorceress with a millionaire? A very witch woman."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Eldin, Peter, Smarties Wizard Jokes, Constable & Robinson (London, England), 2002.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Most Excellent Book of How to Be a Magician, p. 1710.

Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2001, review of Sixteen Card Tricks and Eighteen Magic Tricks, p. 86.

School Library Journal, January, 1981, Helen Gregory, review of Making Magic, p. 62; September, 1983, review of First Look: Trees, p. 123; December, 1983, review of First Look: The Night Sky, p. 66; March, 1985, Margaret M. Hagel, review of Comets, p. 164; August, 1986, Craighton Hippenhammer, review of The Magic Handbook, p. 91; March, 1990, Leslie Chamberlin, review of The Spookster's Handbook, p. 226; June, 1996, Pamela K. Bomboy, review of The Most Excellent Book of How to Be a Magician, p. 137; February, 1997, Judith L. Miller, review of The Most Excellent Book of How to Do Card Tricks, p. 89.

ONLINE

British Broadcasting Corporation Web site, http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (May 31, 2004), review of Whizzkid's Guide.*

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