Mag­i­cal world of read­ing

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Tanya MacNaughton

AUS­TRALIAN il­lu­sion­ist Paul Cosentino not only has magic to thank as a ca­reer but also as the rea­son he learnt to read.

The shy son of a school prin­ci­pal mother and en­gi­neer fa­ther dis­guised he could not read un­til he was 12 years old – not due to any learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, but more his in­abil­ity to be en­gaged.

That all changed when he stum­bled upon a book about magic.

“It had pic­tures in it, vaudevil­lian posters, and that was the first time I was ever in­ter­est­ing in even look­ing at a book,” Cosentino said.

“My mum read the sto­ries to me of ma­gi­cians like Hou­dini and at the back of the book it had magic trick in­struc­tions. I learnt to slowly read while I gained the skill of magic.

“My first trick was for my fa­ther where I made a coin dis­ap­pear and from the mo­ment I’d fooled him, I was ob­sessed with magic.

“I kept read­ing and so my read­ing im­proved which is linked to writ­ing, spelling, it boosted my con­fi­dence so I gained pre­sen­ta­tional skills and I learned about psy­chol­ogy of magic be­cause it’s not just about per­form­ing tricks but there’s au­di­ence man­age­ment.”

The first Aus­tralian ma­gi­cian to have his own prime time TV show has now re­leased his first book in a se­ries of four, The Mys­te­ri­ous World of Cosentino #1: The Miss­ing Ace, which he col­lab­o­rated on with au­thor Jack Heath and chil­dren’s il­lus­tra­tor James Hart.

The books are de­signed for eight to 12-year-olds and are a labour of love for Cosentino.

“I started work­ing on it by my­self at the end of 2012 af­ter I had some ideas for some char­ac­ters but it was just some­thing in my spare time,” he said. “I bumped into Scholas­tic the pub­lisher in 2015, who pitched a dif­fer­ent idea to me and I showed them what I was al­ready work­ing on.

“In­stead of giv­ing me a one-book deal, I got a four-book deal.”

Cosentino said the main char­ac­ter in the books was a height­ened ver­sion based on him­self as a child who dis­cov­ers a magic book.

“He’s not al­lowed to have a magic book be­cause magic is banned in this story,” he said. “The king keeps it for him­self for self­ish pur­poses but Cosentino wants to give magic back to the towns­peo­ple.

“It was great to in­ject my story into the book and to play this char­ac­ter who does things that I can’t do.

“It gives me ideas and lets me live out my fan­tasies. And my mum is proud that the kid who hated books got in­spired by a book and now has his own book.”

The Mys­te­ri­ous World of Cosentino #1: The Miss­ing Ace is out now, with book two re­leased Fe­bru­ary 2018.

Picture: An­drew Ritchie

Paul Cosentino has turned his at­ten­tion to writ­ing books. www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d475674

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