The illustration on the cover shows a vicious white rabbit.
Pick a Scare. Any Scare.
Trick cards, floating scarves, disappearing doves. Tim Swanson loves magic tricks. Someday he wants to be a real magician. Just like his all-time favorite hero, Amaz-O. But then Tim goes to Amaz-O's show. And he finds out his idol is a total grump. That's when Tim decides to steal the bag of tricks. Amaz-O's bag of secret tricks. Scary tricks. The one with the multiplying red balls. And all those hissing snakes...
Tim Swanson is an amateur twelve-year-old magician. He performs tricks from a magic kit for his classmates after school on a daily basis. He also manages to draw a crowd for these tricks. After his peers are amazed at how he can guess their card and separate metal rings, his ten-year-old sister, Ginny, comes by and mocks his magic, revealing the secrets to his tricks to the audience, and also karate chops him in the stomach.
After his magic show breaks up, Tim and his best friend Foster "Foz" Martin decide to stop by the magic shop to look at the new tricks. The owner of the magic shop gives Tim and Foz two free tickets to see Tim's idol, the magician Amaz-O, at a local nightclub the next night. Tim tries to convince his parents to let him go, but they object to their prepubescent son going to a night club at ten at night.
The day of the big magic show, Tim gives another magic show. This time it is at his house, where he displays a trick he constructed in the garage: a homemade trick-compartment table for making a rabbit disappear and reappear. He borrows Foz's sister's rabbit and the trick goes awry and the rabbit gets away but is then caught by Ginny, who karate chops a stream to trap the rabbit.
Tim's parents come home that night exhausted and go right to bed. Tim gets the idea to sneak out of the house and go to the nightclub anyways, which he does, but not before being caught by Ginny, who insists on going with him. The two talk their way into a nightclub unescorted, and are seated in front of the stage. Amaz-O comes out beforehand and asks Tim to be his volunteer later in the show. Amaz-O then begins his show. His act consists of doves flying out of his hat, pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and many other tricks.
Amaz-O calls for a volunteer and Tim goes up, is placed into a magic cabinet, and is delivered to what the magician calls the "5th dimension." He falls through a trapdoor and lands on a mattress in the nightclub's basement. He hears Amaz-O leave the stage and end the show. Tim also finds the basement door locked and he breaks his way out of the room and finds Amaz-O's dressing room. He starts to enter, but a voice inside tells him to "Beat it, punk!" Taken aback at being called a punk, Tim proves himself to not be a punk by stealing the magician's suitcase of tricks to get back at him. Tim and Ginny evade a cadre of security guards and bike home. Ginny insists on Tim sharing the suitcase with her and the two hide it in the attic, promising to not disturb it until Saturday, when they will have time to examine the contents more closely. Tim does not follow this simple plan and instead opens the magic case later that night, and discovers an amazing array of magic tricks.
The suitcase has a sound effect that plays when you open it, a large exploding boom. Inside Tim finds a cup and ball trick, a jacket rigged with a bunch of mechanical glass snakes (that manage to creep him out at first), a wand, and other things.
Tim closes the case and decides that he must pull himself away from the tricks in the suitcase and go to sleep. In the morning, their parents do not suspect a thing, but that does not stop Ginny from telling her mother she and Tim have a secret.
Finally it's Saturday and Foz has come over to see the incredibly boring magic tricks Amaz-O's kit contains. Tim attempts to perform some of the tricks, but they all go awry. First, instead of disappearing, red balls keep appearing under cups in the cup and ball trick, and keep appearing, until he just throws them all in the suitcase and shuts it quickly. Tim then has doves fly out of his hat, but the doves will not quit flying out of his hat, and the attic fills with doves. The children quickly leave the attic, taking the kit with them. Tim reasons that maybe they should play with the kit outside, so if there are anymore animals, they can just fly away. Foz and Ginny are interested in not continuing the magic show. Somehow, he convinces them to join him outside. Ginny roots around in the magic kit, finds a carrot, eats it, and turns into a rabbit.
Tim and Foz cannot figure out how to turn Ginny back into a human. So they decide to return the kit to Amaz-O and get him to turn Ginny back into a human. They break into the nightclub and find Amaz-O's lifeless body on the couch of his dressing room. Upon closer consideration, Amaz-O is actually a large puppet!
A voice in the room begins to berate the children. They discover that Amaz-O's rabbit is the one speaking. He continues to insult them and then explains that he, the rabbit, is Amaz-O, and he was turned into a rabbit by a sorcerer. The rabbit and Tim have a conversation about the sorcerer's name. When asked if he is deaf, Tim gets so fed up with Amaz-O's rudeness, that the rabbit apologizes.
The rabbit goes on to explain that he built the puppet to do his stage work, while he was stuck as a rabbit. The rabbit tells Tim that his sister will change back to a human in less than an hour, and then makes Tim a very interesting offer. Tim agrees to be part of Amaz-O's act, but does not realize that he will be taking over the rabbit portion of the show.
Reprints and rereleases
2003 - 2007 reprint series
- Tim and Ginny's father was mentioned by name in the book: Bill Swanson.
- Amaz-O the Magician later appears as a magic performer in Return to HorrorLand.
- Tim and Ginny's parents are often grumpy and Tim feels like neither of them appreciate him or care about his magic tricks. But there could be more to them than meets the eye.
- Mr. and Mrs. Swanson have shown signs that they still love their kids. They're probably just grumpy because of their jobs.
- Apparently to Mrs. Swanson, Ginny's karate lessons are very important and she says that girls need to know how to defend themselves. It kind of creates a possibility that Mrs. Swanson used to be bullied in school and she didn't want Ginny to suffer the same thing.
- Tim must have done some things that his parents didn't like as he said to Foz that Ginny could do no wrong.