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A series by Bruce Coville about a little shop that wasn't there yesterday run by a kooky old magician who sells magical items to children, preteens and teenagers in order to teach them life lessons.

Books in the series include: The Monster's Ring, Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, Jennifer Murdley's Toad, The Skull of Truth, Juliet Dove, Queen of Love. Also in this series is the short story The Metamorphosis of Justin Jones.

Tropes used in Magic Shop include:


  • The Ageless: The Immortal Vermin. Bufo, the first of the Immortal Vermin to appear, says he can be killed, but barring such an incident, he will live forever. Jerome and Roxanne, the youngest of the Immortal Vermin, inform the protagonists of "The Skull of Truth" and "Juliet Dove, Queen of Love" of their status as "killable, but otherwise undying".
  • Anachronic Order: Jennifer Murdley's phone is mentioned in Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, which was published before Jennifer Murdley's Toad. Also the dragon's egg is seen by Jennifer while she's in the shop getting her toad, implying that the books are not published in a strict chronological order.
  • Baleful Polymorph: When Jennifer Murdley's toad kisses a human, the human gets transformed into a toad. Strangely, if he kisses the transformed toad again, the toad merely grows bigger. The only way to cure the transformation is to have another human kiss you, but the catch is that the person who kisses you gets transformed into a toad in your place. Size doesn't transfer over to other people.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
  • Blessed with Suck: Usually the things bought from the shop have some very significant drawbacks. The monster's ring will put you in Shapeshifter Mode Lock, the dragon hatchling is highly conspicuous and you don't get to keep it anyway, the toad comes with an evil sorceress trying to reobtain it, the skull literally forces you to tell the truth no matter the circumstances, and the love charm makes all members of the opposite sex obsess insanely over you (Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered style). Only the sleeping bag doesn't come with a massive amount of suck along with its bless, and even then, probably because there wasn't a whole book to explore it. The only drawback of the sleeping bag is that it forces you to choose between never growing up and returning to the arguably Crapsack World.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Helen of Troy's amulet.
  • Continuity Nod: In each book the protagonists notice certain items in the magic shop. As the series progresses, protagonists no longer describe items that featured in previous books, presumably because they're no longer there.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: All members of the opposite sex become this when you put on Helen of Troy's amulet.
  • Dragon Rider: Once Tiamat gets large enough.
  • Fantastic Aesop
  • The Gump: The Skull of Truth is actually a friend of Shakespeare and the actual Yorick/skull used in Hamlet.
  • Here There Were Dragons
  • Immortality: The Immortal Vermin (including toad Bufo and the rats Roxanne and Jerome) have Type II immortality, as they will live forever unless they are killed by some outside force (such as creatures that naturally prey on toads, snakes, spiders, rats, lizards and other such things).
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The premise of the series basically.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Gilbert from The Skull of Truth.
  • Mathematician's Answer: The personification of Truth answers Mark's question of what will happen to his father with something along the lines of "he will live, he will love, he will have successes and failures and then he will die."
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Juliet: Reference to Romeo and Juliet.
    • Tiamat: Dragon that created the world in Mesopotamian mythology.
    • S.H. Elives spells out "She Lives". Hmmm...
      • Word of God is that he's a moon wizard. The moon is typically regarded as female.
  • Metamorphosis: The Metamorphosis of Justin Jones is not actually a perfect example, despite the title. Justin gradually grows wings and gains the ability to fly, but he reverts back to normal after a night. He doesn't know this when he starts out, though.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They speak telepathically using colours and they're fond of milk.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: What happens if you turn the monster's ring three times.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Gilbert, a boy with leukemia, meets the personification of Truth along with his friends in The Skull of Truth. They are all permitted to ask any question and receive an entirely truthful answer. Gilbert is about to ask whether or not he'll survive his leukemia, but decides this is something he would rather not know.
  • Trickster Mentor: Elives, who overlaps with Eccentric Mentor at times.
  • Truth-Telling Session: Magically-induced.
  • Truth Serum: The Skull of Truth acts as this.
  • Wings Do Nothing: Justin wanders into Elives' Magic Shop and ends up purchasing a home magic kit thematically inspired by the metamorphosis trick of stage magic shows. Rather than switching places with an assistant, he finds that it gives him wings-which don't work. He continues to follow the instructions, but grows increasingly agitated as it's becoming harder and harder to hide them from his abusive uncle, and they still don't let him fly, so his dreams of getting away from said uncle are as kaput as ever. Fortunately for our protagonist, he manages to keep them under wraps until he's finished the process, after which they fill out and do let him fly, and by the time his uncle finds out, he's already headed out the window.
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