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Pure Dead Magic [Paperback]

Debi Gliori
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 April 2002 Pure Dead (Book 1)

All is not well at StregaSchloss, home of the bizarre but lovable Strega-Borgia clan. Mum's attempts to improve her witchcraft skills are failing miserably. Dad has stormed out in a fit of pique. Titus is virtually umbilically attached to his computer. Pandora is seriously bored. And Baby Damp is getting her fat little fingers into everything around.

Enter wonder-nanny Mrs McLachlan - she'll soon sort out the Strega-Borgia children, and their parents too, but will she cope with the presence of mythical beasts in the basement, to say nothing of the unexpected arrival of four hit-men, including one in a rabbit suit?

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Pure Dead Magic + Pure Dead Wicked + Pure Dead Brilliant
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens; New Ed edition (1 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552547573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552547574
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Debi Gliori is the writer and illustrator of over seventy picture books and novels for children of all ages, including the much-loved 'No Matter What' and the Pure Dead series, recently optioned by Aardman. Ever since she could hold a pencil in her left hand, Debi has loved to draw pictures and make up stories. Nowadays, she works in her light-drenched garden shedquarters, surrounded by books and paints and one inflatable crocodile. A large percentage of Debi's time is spent dreaming up new ideas that she can turn into books. She lives outside Edinburgh with her partner and five children.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Age range: 9-11

Debi Gliori may be better known for her superb picture books, ranging from the undeniable love-in of No Matter What to the satisfying bedtime book, The Very Small, but this time the lady takes on new literary life with the superb (not to mention downright dotty!) Pure Dead Magic--an unforgettable first novel that will leave the reader at once exhausted and exhilarated.

Imagine, if you will, the family home of the Strega-Borgia family, StregaSchloss. Here we meet young Titus Strega-Borgia, our 12-year-old hero, his 10-year-old sister Pandora and the divine baby Damp. Then there's mum and dad: Luciano and the rather stressed-out Baci. Oh, and great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother Strega-Nonna (who, by the way, is cryogenically preserved in the freezer) plus The Good Help That Was Hard To Find (the nanny Mrs Flora McLachlan, the butler Latch and the cook Marie Bain). Add to the mix the rats who live in the modem, the beasts in the basement, a seriously wicked baddie called Don Lucifer di S'Embowelli and a gangster in a rabbit suit and watch as the ensuing mayhem takes hold.

The award-winning Gliori has an admirable style and this gloriously gothic romp is a credit to her artist's eye, with every page bursting with intrigue and an unbelievable energy that paints a startlingly vivid, picture on the mind. For a first attempt at fiction by a woman who has made her name in the world of picture books, this is far from disappointing: her sense of the totally absurd is astounding, her characters are simply sensational and her wild sense of humour is downright delicious. Pure Dead Magic is a must-read. --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Debi Gliori's first novel is an unbridled fantasy with elements of the Addams family, a hint of Gormenghast and overtones of the mafia, together with computer technology and some parody, all blended into a heavy brew that is laugh-out-loud funny" (The Bookseller)

"It's a gallimaufry of ghastly, giggly stuff" (Financial Times)

"Fluent and energetic" (The Sunday Times)

"Features one of the most eccentric families in children's fiction . . . A rollicking red, which rapidly draws the reader into its strange and gothic world" (Waterstones Books Quarterly)

"Wonderful stuff" (Daily Telegraph)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The weird Strega-Borgia family lives in their large (and very strange) home, known as StregaSchloss, in the Scottish Highlands. There's Titus, who's twelve and is obsessed with computers, his ten-year-old sister Pandora, who has a pet rat, and their baby sister Damp, who is... well, a baby. And of course their parents: their mom, a witch-in-training, and their father, currently in the captivity of his evil half-brother, as well as the cook (who actually can't cook for her life), the butler, and the nanny. Not to mention the various beasts and creatures that also make their home at StregaSchloss. Of course, the REAL trouble starts when Pandora dabbles in magic, shrinks Damp, and sends her over the Internet. This unusual, hilarious, and VERY WEIRD book is great for readers who like humorous fantasy books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
=On first glance, I thought this would be entertaining. I got a glimpse of how entertaining it would be with the dramatis personae.

Titus (12 years), his sister Pandora (10 years old) and their younger sister Damp (14 months old) are living with their mother, Signora Baci Strega-Borgia in StregaSchloss when their father just ups and leaves. Just like that. No explanation as to why (although the reason is revealed in the novel). Baci, who is taking magic courses at the weekend to improve her magical ability, needs more help than Latch the butler and Marie Bain the cook can provide. Edible food is just the start. So she advertises for nannies.

Most have ended up in Tock the crocodile's stomach as he lounges around the moat. The 600 year old several times great grandmother, cryogenically preserved in the freezer is no help whatsoever: she only defrosts during a powercut to see if there's a 'cure' for her ailment. Multitudina, Pandora's pet rat has her hands full with ratlings (rat babies?) literally enters cyber space. Tarentella, the spider who loves lipstick scares Titus but proves a great babysitter for Damp. The latest nanny, Mrs Flora McLachlan (full name in the novel) has a great secret. She can do magic too - all with the help of a little box. For her current charges, she prefers to be normal. But, at the climax of the story, she brings out the box to save the family from their Mafia lineage.

The imagination here is incredible. Computers actually are live. The internet is a highway that rats, babies and children travel on. You don't want to be around when a dragon has severe tummy ache. Or when concrete is served as meal. Or when Pandora gets her hand on her mother's wands. Life is certainly not normal in the Strega-Borgia household.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat 19 Dec 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very funny. I enjoyed reading it as an adult, although really it's pitched at the 8-12 year old mark, everyone will like it. Especially the rats that get into the modem, and the talking spider who ends up actually searching the web!
The binding is absolutely beautiful, purple suede embossed with silver. A gorgeous gift for someone...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing for reading aloud 22 May 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This story had me glued to the pages, as did the two sequels. The style and scope for vocabulary development makes this ideal material for reading aloud to Juniors (with a little careful editing of some not entirely suitable language!!). My Y4 class would probably enjoy it, but I think Y5 or Y6 would really appreciate it. The humour is perhaps a little adult (very tongue-in-cheek) but this, although probably lost on many of them,probably won't detract from the children's appreciation of the fast-moving and gripping storylines. What a shame it's only part of a trilogy! More from Stregaschloss, please, Debi!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for a non reader 1 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My daughter is thoroughly enjoying this book which is fantastic as she does not read willingly. She is already looking forward to the rest of the titles in the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars pure dead magic 21 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a story set in Scotland and also in ancient Caledonia were a Roman soldier makes a pact with the devil and it has consequences for the family in modern times. It centres around a family whose mother is training to be a witch but is not very good and the children who are looked after by a nanny who is more than she seems. It is the first story in a series and is an excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Irreverent, refreshing and really, really funny 25 Nov 2012
I can't recommend this series highly enough. I often read the books I buy for my daughter as we like to share the experience of a story. I always knew Debi Gliori had a wicked sense of humour but this series is where she excercises it fully. Imagine the Addams family living in Scotland and you're close to the plot, although this thoroughly modern family is also computer literate in varying degrees. I don't want to give too much away but magic, witchcraft, the Internet, the Mafia and mythical beasts are there in spades. Debi's writing is acerbic, concise and so witty. Not a word is wasted and you will laugh out loud, whether you're 9 or 40 - something. I take my hat off to this writer. She has absolutely nailed it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars short and funny. 30 Dec 2011
By L.W
I found the book funny and the characters very creative I especially liked the pets.The plot I found unpredictable and interesting it made me want to read more. I found it a very nice escape and a great short read for when I'm in-between books. Thank-you Debi Gliori.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Dear Debi
Hi Debi, just saying that your book was very interesting and I enjoyed the book very much. It was very good and I love that genre of books.I read them all the time. Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2011 by Fraser Tait
4.0 out of 5 stars It's pure funny magic!
Pure Dead Magic has a really fantastic plot and the beasts' names are really funny. My favourite characters are Mrs Mclachlan and Damp. Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure dead FANTASTIC!
This book is wonderful, it introduces 12yearold Titus, his younger, clever sister Pandora and their baby sister, Damp, as well as their fascinating parents, Signor Luciano and... Read more
Published on 11 April 2005 by conor byrne
4.0 out of 5 stars pure dead magic
I have not often read a book which i found so funny and yet so captivating. Pure dead magic is hard to put down, with its colourful characters and interesting story line it is sure... Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2004 by Ellie
4.0 out of 5 stars A-ghast!
A really fun book, best described as Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast) lightened up with a large measure of Terry Pratchett style humour. Recommended for "kids" of all ages. Read more
Published on 10 Aug 2004 by Big Rich
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy, unedited, derivative and dull
It's difficult to imagine how anyone can possibly give a book as poor as this five stars. Then again, it has a bright shiny cover and a catchy title - rather like 'Artemis Fowl',... Read more
Published on 8 July 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best i've read
Debi Gliori is one of the best authors and i love her books i think all her Pure Dead books are funny. Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2004 by Gary
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