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Hocus Pocus Hotel
Hocus Pocus Hotel
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Reviewed Titles Award Winners
Hocus Pocus Hotel

Hocus Pocus Hotel

by Michael Dahl
Illustrated by Lisa K. Weber

The Abracadabra Hotel, built by and for magicians, has long been know to locals as the Hocus Pocus Hotel. Charlie Hitchcock has never stepped inside until Tyler Yu tells him to meet him there ...or else. As if the hotel's storied past isn't enough, it turns out that the place is inhabited by magicians, and while Charlie and Ty solve magical mysteries, the bully and the brain form an unlikely friendship.

PublisherStone Arch Books
BrandHocus Pocus Hotel
Age Level- Years
SubjectMystery, Fantasy & Science Fiction
Trim Size5 x 7 3/4
Page Count216
* Currently unavailable.


Cover 2 Cover blog - Stephanie

"This was an adorable read. The story was mysterious and an adventure full of fun characters and magician history. The boys are an interesting pair, the nerd and the bully working together to right the rumors about the hotel with smarts and spirit. . . .This would be a great book for reluctant young readers..." - Cover 2 Cover blog

August 1, 2012

Bumbles and Fairy-Tales blog - Margie

"A new favorite series that my kids and I are definitely going to follow! . . . .There are numerous mysterious to be solved! And with each one, we learn just how magicians do their magic. Charlie and his photographic memory doesn't miss a single clue and it is so much fun to see him unravel the magic tricks through illustrations that he draws to show us exactly how the trick is performed. The perfect read for any kid who loves a little mystery and finally getting to see how magic tricks are really performed!" - Bumbles and Fairy-Tales blog

October 30, 2012


NetGalley Review - Carrie Ardoin

"But for a younger reader, I think this book might be enjoyable. It's simple and fast to read, and there are sure to be some new words for the reader to be introduced to. The cast of characters may get a few giggles too. I think this would be a fun read for girls and boys who enjoy magic." - NetGalley Review

November 16, 2012

Mom Loves 2 Read & blog - Susan

"...full of thrills, chills and spooky mystery. I thought that both Troll Hunters and Hocus Pocus Hotel were fun and entertaining reads that I would recommend for middle grade to young adult readers. Both boys and girls alike will enjoy the engaging characters, mystery and intriguing plots." - Mom Loves 2 Read & blog

October 31, 2012


Live to Read blog - Rachel

"Just because this book is aimed for younger children doesn't mean it's ONLY for that age group. I think any age would enjoy this story. It has magic, riddles, and illustrations done by the lovely Lisa K. Weber to show how some magic acts are actually completed. . . .I definitely recommend this book to middle graders and up. It's very cute and easy to read - a nice book for a gift. 4 Stars." - Live to Read blog

November 9, 2012

the Obsessive Book Worm blog

"This is not the type of magic that can cause controversy, I’m happy to say. This book is all about illusionists and even reveals some of the tricks in the books with diagrams. Even I found myself studying the diagrams closely to figure out how they did what was described. . . .This was a great book for young readers aimed at boys. It is nice to see more books being written for boys in this age group. . . .The first book of the series, I definitely see the potential for this series to pick up quickly and develop into a long series. Worth giving to your kids." - the Obsessive Book Worm blog

August 10, 2012


Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO - Jackie Blem

"This a fun read that is also educational.. . .It's a page turning mystery AND a teaching tool because, as the boys solve the mysteries, they show how the "tricks" were done, often with diagrams. This book should catch the young male reluctant reader as well as any reader who is "magic curious"." - Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

August 8, 2012

Kids Books Central - Francesca Amendolia

"A quickly read, nicely designed book, it certainly held my interest. . . .These two stories are a good start, and there is a story arc that suggests at least one – but likely many more stories to come." - Kids Books Central

August 1, 2012


School Library Journal - Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA

"Strange things are happening at the Abracadabra Hotel, an establishment that caters to magicians. A guest has gone missing, along with a host of bizarre, seemingly unrelated objects like shower curtains, bowling pins, and serving spoons. Lights flicker on and off, eerie sounds are heard, and shadows seen. Could the Abracadabra have a ghost? Seventh-grade bully Tyler Yu’s parents work at the hotel, and Ty wants to get to the bottom of the mysteries. He secretly insists on the help of Charlie Hitchcock, a smart but small and nerdy classmate with a photographic memory. Together, the boys investigate the hotel from top to bottom, learning magicians’ tricks as they move from one clue to the next. Full-color illustrations, many full page, and black-and-white diagrams show how each trick is done. They and Charlie’s lists of clues should help young detectives solve the mysteries of the Abracadabra right along with the sleuths. A good start to a new series." - School Library Journal

August 1, 2012

Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer blog

"Michael Dahl has a talent of creating suspense on every page as the young sleuth, Charlie Hitchcock, investigates the mysterious that are hidden in the Abracadabra Hotel. All of the disappearances have a logical reason in which are explained by cute illustrations throughout the book. Hocus Pocus Hotel is a great way to introduce kids to the world of magicians and how to use common sense when something doesn't look quite right. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and I recommend it others. Rating: 5/5" - Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer blog

September 17, 2012


Blue Stocking Thinking blog - Nicole

"One of the things I love about Capstone books is that they publish fun to read texts that support striving readers. . . .The Capstone titles I've added to my classroom have always been a hit. . . .they certainly serve an important role in helping many students feel more and more like accomplished readers." - Blue Stocking Thinking blog

October 8, 2012

James Patterson's

"Strange things are happening at the Abracadabra hotel for retired magicians. Two mysteries are revealed, seemingly unrelated — but are coincidences like that possible? It takes the odd pairing of Tyler Yu, the school bully, and Charlie Hitchcock, the kid with a photographic memory to figure things out. Reluctant readers won't have to be coaxed much before they get caught up as clues mount ...but don't quite make sense. The slightly-spooky atmosphere, the unlikely friendship, and a handful of full-color illustrations, deepen the appeal of this first title in the Hocus Pocus Hotel series." - James Patterson's

February 21, 2012


James Patterson's "Halloween BOO-O-O-O-K List"

"When Tyler Yu (a bully) asks Charlie Hitchcock (a geek) to meet him after school, Charlie fears the worst. But Ty just needs his help solving a mystery at the Abracadabra Hotel, a retirement home for magicians, where his Dad is the manager. As the two join forces and discover the hotel is haunted, an unlikely friendship develops. A delightful spirited new series filled with riddles, magic tricks and secret." - James Patterson's "Halloween BOO-O-O-O-K List"

October 3, 2012

Booklist - John Peters

"A retirement hotel for professional magicians provides the setting for two cases involving mysterious disappearances and a young sleuth with “acute visual memory.” Charlie “Hitch” Hitchcock is surprisingly invited by school bully Tyler Yu into the old hotel, run by the surly punk’s family, to find out where the elderly magician in room 1413 disappeared to and then, later, why shower curtains, bowling pins, and serving spoons have likewise gone missing on another seemingly haunted floor. Getting to the bottom of both mysteries (which turn out to have benign, if contrived, causes) involves sharp observation and deduction as well as plenty of broad hints from the hotel’s inscrutable elevator operator. Along the way, Hitch also learns how magicians use swiveling mirrors, legerdemain, and other gear or skills to create their effects. Along with frequent color-cartoon renditions of the characters and the hotel’s antique, atmospheric decor, Weber provides detailed diagrams to show how each featured trick works. An inviting package." - Booklist

August 1, 2012


NetGalley Review - Joel Smith

"...even though this is an early middle grade effort, both mysteries are very, very well done, and have very clever solutions. . . .could quite well end up engaging your young reader." - NetGalley Review

July 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews

"Ty Yu, one of the biggest bullies in middle school, recruits Charlie Hitchcock and his "acute visual memory" for a little detective work.  There have been some mysterious occurrences at Ty's home, the Hocus Pocus Hotel, a residence for retired magicians. His plans to purchase a dirt bike, a “Tezuki Slamhammer 750, Edition 6, in cherry-pop lightning red,” must wait when tenant Mr. Madagascar disappears, along with his rent payment. Brack, an employee with some surprises of his own, mentors the students as they connect the clues. Charlie's interests (his skillz at Sherlock Holmes Maximum Z serve him well) allow him to quickly summarize the information and bring tidy resolutions. The children's second case involves the identity of a local ghost. The first in a series, these two mysteries connect to a larger storyline as the hotel's performers prepare for their revival show. At times, exposition causes pacing to drag. “It was just that Tyler never showed he had brains while he was in school. At school, Tyler pretty much only showed off his big arms and fists.” Digital art depicts Ty as a lanky teenager with slicked-back black hair and almond eyes; Charlie, with glasses and freckles, is significantly shorter. Drawings dissect the duo's major discoveries. With a touch of The Twilight Zone, it's the building and its guests that provide the eeriest entertainment. (Mystery. 9-12)" - Kirkus Reviews

June 15, 2012


Media Macaroni blog - Amy Kraft

"Need something a little spooky for younger readers? This book has the vibe of a Alfred Hitchcock Presents for kids; it reads like a few short mysteries sandwiched together. . . .a fun book for the Scooby Doo crowd, and there are some cool charts that show how magic tricks are done." - Media Macaroni blog

October 14, 2012

Me, My Shelf & I blog - Amber

"Okay THIS was a really fun read! . . .I read it with my 8 year old who fought me tooth and nail for “just one more chapter” each night. . . .I have no trouble saying that I think my family has found yet another favorite author to add to our shelves!! We look forward to the second installment of HOCUS PUCUS HOTEL out next year!!" - Me, My Shelf & I blog

November 2, 2012


Ms. Yingling Reads blog - Karen Yingling

"This is realistic fiction, and a decent...mystery. I've been doing a brisk business in Ron Roy, Donald Sobol and short Nancy Drew mysteries with children who "forgot" to pick up mystery books for a language arts unit test, and this would fit the bill." - Ms. Yingling Reads blog

November 20, 2012

Peter's Ponderings blog - Peter Schott

"As an adult, I found this an entertaining read with some great illustrations. I would have loved this sort of book when I was in elementary school. The proof that a child will like this comes from my kid who couldn’t wait to keep going and find out how the mysteries were solved and how the tricks were done. We had to keep reading until the very end because the story was great to hold the imagination and attention. We’re now eagerly looking forward to book #2 which is due out in 2013." - Peter's Ponderings blog

October 1, 2012


Journey of a Bookseller blog/Book Faerie blog - Jo Ann Hakola

"...has a touch of "Encyclopedia Brown" drama running through it.  Things are not always what they seem and Charlie can see through it because of his photographic memory. . . .You can't miss with this book." - Journey of a Bookseller blog/Book Faerie blog

August 12, 2012

NetGalley Review - Rebecca Pausley

"...the entire story is a set of mysteries where you try to figure out how the magicians in the story do their tricks and fool the bully. The magic tricks are interesting, and explained very well, it ended up being quite interesting. I would recommend this book to middle elementary and early middle school students who are interested in magic." - NetGalley Review

September 27, 2012


Charlotte's Library blog - Charlotte

"If you have a young reader (say, 9 or 10) kicking around who loved the Encyclopedia Brown stories, and who also is intrigued by magic (of the stage kind, not the fantasy kind) give that reader Hocus Pocus Hotel. . . .There are secrets galore in the Abracadabra Hotel--and Dahl has lots of fun incorporating magic tricks into his story, complete with explanatory diagrams (great for the geekish child, or curious adult). I liked the premise of a hotel full of elderly magicians lots--much more fun than Encyclopedia Brown's crime- ridden, but boring, town. The reader might guess that there's magic behind the mysteries...but still there's room for plain old logic and deductive reasoning." - Charlotte's Library blog

September 16, 2012

Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! blog - Stormi

"The book is about mysteries and magicians and filled with cool magic tricks and little diagrams that show you just how the tricks work. . . .fun, mysterious and I think boys and girls who love to read will both enjoy this book. I would definitely recommend this book." - Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! blog

August 14, 2012


Great Kids Books Blog - Mary Ann Scheuer

"Students in our library love, love, love graphic novels. They draw them in with their bright pictures dynamic stories. Kids who are new to reading also love graphic novels, and the series My First Graphic Novel has some wonderful titles perfectly suited for 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders who are learning to read on their own. Clues in the Attic and Bus Ride Bully have been particularly popular in our school library. Both available as paperbacks for your home library. Clues in the Attic by Cari Meister illustrated by Remy Simard My First Graphic Novel series MN: Stone Arch Books, 2010 ages 5 - 8 available on Amazon and at your local library Clues in the Attic and Bus Ride Bully are written by Cari Meister, known for her Tiny series of early readers, about Tiny the dog who is not so tiny after all (Tiny Goes to the Library, Puffin, 2000). In Clues in the Attic , Ben is worried about strange noises he hears coming from the attic. When he investigates, he is sure there are bats in the attic. Finally, his sister helps him discover that it’s really just her missing snake. In Bus Ride Bully , Gavin hates riding the bus because Max is always being mean to him. But when Max is hurt and can’t come to school, Gavin starts to worry." - Great Kids Books Blog

January 19, 2011

Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! blog - Stormi Johnson

"Both of these books are spooktacular in their own right as middle grade spooky books. The would make perfect reads for your young readers who like a little scare to their books." - Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! blog

October 10, 2012


Justin's Book Blog - Justin

"I really ended up enjoying Hocus Pocus Hotel. I usually like turning to Middle Grade books when I need something light and fun to read, and this book fit the bill for sure. It's was a ton of fun to read, full of mystery, clue solving and just an all around good time." - Justin's Book Blog

October 23, 2012

To Read or Not To Read blog - Marcie

"Charlie Hitchcock is a young Sherlock Holmes in the making. Together with Tyler, they are determined to solve the mysteries the hotel presents. This book is wonderfully written with fantastic illustrations. This book is perfect ages 8 and up. If your kids like mysteries, check this book out." - To Read or Not To Read blog

November 5, 2012


Library Media Connection Online - Sheila Acosta, Children’s Librarian, Cody Library, San Antonio, Texas

"Charlie Hitchcock knows he needs three things to survive a meeting at the Hocus Pocus Hotel with the biggest bully of Blackstone Middle School—a big dog, a bodyguard, and guts—of which he has none. Tyler wants to discuss a mystery and, knowing about Charlie’s photographic memory, thinks he might be the person to help. Magicians stay at the hotel and Ty wants to solve the disappearance of one of the guests. After misdirection, mirrors, and magic, both Charlie and Ty figure out what is really happening. A cast of colorful characters helps to move the suspense and magical mystery along. Colorful illustrations and diagrams explaining some of the magic tricks add to the fun, making this a great selection for reluctant readers. The book’s mix of humor and suspense will have readers eager for the next in the series. Recommended." - Library Media Connection Online

January 1, 2013

The Book Monsters blog - Kristen

"I've always loved stories that take place in a hotel full of mysteries. This story was no exception. . . .The illustrations in this novel are fantastic and really help the reader visual all that is happening throughout the story. Final Verdict: A great read for elementary students, one that will capture and hold their attention as they solve mysteries with Charlie and Ty." - The Book Monsters blog

October 12, 2012


Diamonds & Coal Book Reviews blog - Anna

"This was a fun book for me, as someone who never really read mysteries as a kid - it's something that I've gotten into a lot more now that I'm an adult.  But I loved the illustrations and Tyler's inept bullying, that isn't quite mean-spirited enough to be taken seriously. . . .I look forward to future books in the series, just to see what places Charlie and Tyler go next. . . .Overall I'd recommend this mostly for elementary and middle school aged readers and their teachers." - Diamonds & Coal Book Reviews blog

August 8, 2012

Buggie 4 Book blog - Mellisa Neal

"I love this book. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. . . .Full of fun, adventure, magic." - Buggie 4 Book blog

August 1, 2012


Kids Book Korner - Jenifer Nelissen

"This book is a sheer delight to read. I loved every minute of it. The whole premise of the hotel is genius!" - Kids Book Korner

August 1, 2012

Back to Books Blog - Nicola

"The first couple of pages show how to read a graphic novel showing the direct panels and then showing how the direction text and balloons should be read. Gavin does not like the bus. Not the way it looks or the way it smells but most of all he does not like Max. He is terrified everyday going on the bus because Max always comes and sits in his seat, eats his snack, laughs at him and trips him. But one day Max is not there, nor the next. At first Max can't believe the difference but then he starts to worry what's happened to Max? Does Gavin actually miss Max? A fun story and an interesting look at one possibility for a bully's actions. Loving Simard's illustrations for these books. A great read considering the low reading level, RL 1.4. This is certainly of a much higher interest level, probably up to about 9 years old. The story is not simple or babyish in anyway. A great book for first time graphic readers and reluctant readers. 4/5" - Back to Books Blog

December 31, 2010


Luxury Reading blog - Amanda Farmer

"This story has a lot to offer its readers: friendships, mysteries, magic, and of course surprises around every corner. The reader is able to be drawn into the story and will not want to stop reading it until the end. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to be released next year. I am looking forward to it and sharing it with my family. I feel this story will appeal to all readers even those who resist reading a book unless its required for school. Rating: 5/5 Stars." - Luxury Reading blog

September 29, 2012


State Library of Louisiana

2015 Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee

July 1, 2013

Michael Dahl

Michael Dahl

Michael Dahl is the prolific author of the bestselling Goodnight, Baseball picture book and more than 200 other books for children and young adults. He has won the AEP Distinguished Achievement Award three times for his nonfiction, a Teacher’s Choice award from Learning magazine, and a Seal of Excellence from the Creative Child Awards. Dahl currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Go to the Author’s Page →