Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pure Dead Magic (Pure Dead, #1)” as Want to Read:
Pure Dead Magic (Pure Dead, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pure Dead Magic (Pure Dead #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,478 Ratings  ·  145 Reviews
Things are not right at the Strega-Borgia castle. Signor Luciano Strega-Borgia has been kidnapped. Signora Baci Strega-Borgia is struggling with her spells at the Advanced Witchcraft Institute.Titus and Pandora don’t like their suspiciously cheerful and fearless new nanny. Baby Damp has been accidentally shrunk, e-mailed, and lost on the World Wide Web. And to top it off, ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published August 13th 2002 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dorcas
Mar 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an unexpected mix of cyber, goth, and a Mary Poppin's nanny set on the fringes of an Italian mafia family. There's a moat with a hungry crocodile, lumbering pet guardians that munch on stray visitors, unwanted nannies and intruders, and three children desperate to keep the family together. Technology and magic work together in this book with sometimes interesting, sometimes awkward results. In the end, however, I find myself interested in learning more, just to see what other wacky ...more
Sensitivemuse
Dec 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chaotic is one word to really describe this book. Although it was fun to read what they all go through I think this book would have made a very interesting movie (should it ever go that way). Think of The Addams Family and their kookiness, mixed with a bit of style of Lemony Snicket and add in a bit of Mary Poppins and you get Pure Dead Magic. I enjoyed reading this book! it was a fun light read and there were particular parts of the book that actually got me laughing out loud. It is quirky and ...more
Patricia
Sep 15, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I got through a little over half of it and could no longer continue. Too many lame tongue-in-cheek jokes. The plot isn't easily followed, the whole thing seems really scattered. The characters are silly (and not in the good way.) I would not waste a child's time with this book when there are so many well-written stories out there.
Destinee Sutton
A librarian at the Wallingford branch recommended this to me, so I had high hopes, but it wasn't great. There's a strange mix of computers and magic, which seems like a good idea in theory, but on the page it just doesn't make sense.
Kat  Hooper
Aug 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Titus and his sister Pandora have another new nanny. It’s hard to keep nannies around the Strega-Borgia mansion, but despite the siblings’ best efforts to scare off the latest applicant, Mrs. McLachlan is undaunted. She’ll be taking care of the kids and their scary pets because their dad, Signor Luciano Strega-Borgia, has abandoned the family and their mom, Signora Baci Strega-Borgia, has started witch school.

The Strega-Borgia kids soon turn their attentio
...more
Swankivy
Aug 20, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite frankly one of the worst kids' books I've read in a long time--many apologies, Debi. Let's start with characters' names: If you're a parent and you've already named your children Titus and Pandora, what are the chances you'll name your second daughter "Damp"? Not bloody likely, but I figure the author thought it'd be cute.

We've got monsters living in the dungeons and a croc in the moat who likes to eat nannies--at one point the dragon shits all over the place (conveniently having
...more
Julie Decker
Aug 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Strega-Borgia children--Titus, Pandora, and Damp--are left banging around their castle home without their parents; with Mom off at a witchcraft university and Dad having been kidnapped, they are to be cared for by a nanny, and they aren't allowed to reveal their magic. The nanny has some secrets of her own. A number of unfortunate incidents befall the children, including accidental shrinking of the baby and losing her on the Internet, a criminal infiltrating their castle with typically crimi ...more
Katie
Apr 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like: kid's stories, crude humor, and weirdness
Shelves: kids
It's hard to write a review on a kid's book because the writing has to be so much more simplistic than an adult or even a teen novel. However, I will try my best to be fair and address everything necessary.
Characters:
I found the characterization to be pretty great. Each character had not only a specific voice, but distinct characteristics as well. Since there were quite a few characters for such a small book, I consider this to be a great feat. Each character was easy to distinguish and they wer
...more
Amy
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens and high reading level Elementary age
Shelves: junior-fantasy
Wild, crazy and over the top wacky!

Debi Gliori must be a blast to know, if I base my opinion on this series anyway!

What a cast of characters, it's a good thing there is a guide at the beginning of the book. I loved getting to know the Strega-Borgia clan; 10 year old Pandora, her 12 year old computer genius brother Titus and the baby, Damp; along with their parents Signor Luciano and Signora Baci Strega-Borgia.

Oh, but don't forget the list of creatures that also call Castle Strega-Schloss home: M
...more
Carin
Jul 19, 2010 rated it liked it
My friend K loaned this to me a year ago, promising it was cute and fun, which it was. A little bit derivative, but not in a way most kids would pick up on. To me, it was basically like a Lemony Snicket book, but with computers. Three kids, the youngest still crawling and not talking with a funny name (Damp), get into some trouble, have parents who aren't much help, a funny nanny, and a lot of odd monsters as pets/guard dogs. They all (including the mother) think their father has left when in fa ...more
Liz
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, kids, 2010
In the opening pages of this book, I thought it was a rich-kids-get-rid-of-the-nanny story. I couldn't have been more wrong. Sure, it features unruly kids (and their pet rats and spiders!), an ancient house, a hapless mother, a butler, and a nanny, but it also features a dragon, a yeti, a gargoyle, a talking spider with a penchant for lipstick, various wizardly gadgets and people with magical abilities (or lack of!).

It's also got some hilarious family scenes, and a great chase to rescue their m
...more
Joy
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a strange mix. I love the idea of magic coexisting with modern technology and this book was full of that, and full of jokes and puns. It was over the top and mad, but I did enjoy it. At times it was hard to follow due to the amount of characters and plots, but this would all have been appealing to child me, and I am clearly no longer the target age for this series.

A chaotic but enjoyable read.
Sally Allerton
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourites
I read this series of books with my children some years ago (they are all adults now) and we all absolutely loved them. We enjoyed them so much that after buying the first book in paperback I brought it again in hardback to be kept as a beautiful set. If I was reading them on my own as an adult maybe I wouldn't have given five stars, but I would definitely recommend them to be read out loud to be enjoyed with children. They are funny, sad, exciting and just a little bit naughty.
Joy
This book was a strange mix. I love the idea of magic coexisting with modern technology and this book was full of that, and full of jokes and puns. It was over the top and mad, but I did enjoy it. At times it was hard to follow due to the amount of characters and plots, but this would all have been appealing to child me, and I am clearly no longer the target age for this series.

A chaotic but enjoyable read.
Samm
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book makes me want to reread all the books I loved when I was little so that I can catch all the sarcastic jokes included for parents that may be reading them.
Courtney
After reading another person's review, I realized I had read this book in Middle School. Now I want to find it and re-read it!
Emma
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Debi Gliori's novel Pure Dead Magic first caught my attention as a library page for two simple reasons: the unique title and the rather enticing plaid background of the cover (which also features a neat illustration by Glin Dibley). Before embarking on Pure Dead Magic, a work of longer fiction, Gliori had written and illustrated picture books for children. I have seen this book, the first in a trilogy, shelved both with children's and young adult books. I'm more inclined to call it a children's ...more
Isla
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I just re-read this book after hosting an event with Debi Gliori for NIGHT SHIFT, a beautiful and important illustrated guide to the horrors of depression. I read the Pure Dead series when I was younger and ADORED them, and I absolutely loved revisiting the world. I will absolutely be rereading the entire series. The humour and world is fantastic - I love the mix of magic, reality and utter lunacy. As expected, while re-reading I picked up a few jokes I wouldn't have got as a child, and those ex ...more
Kristin
This book, the first in a series, was a cute and quick read. Set in the Strega-Borgia family castle in Argyll, Scotland, complete with a moat and a dungeon, this dark comedic little romp begins when Signor Luciano has already deserted the family (unbeknownst to them, kidnapped) and Signora Baci(a student witch) tries to balance her studies and childcare duties by hiring another nanny to look after the children. Titus, the oldest, is a computer whiz, and Pandora enjoys caring for her pet rat Mult ...more
Beverly
Pure Dead Magic by Debi Gliori
3 stars

Many years ago, a librarian friend of mine recommended a couple of books written by Debi Gliori--2 more in the Pure Dead series). She knew I enjoyed children's books and thought these reminded her of "A Series of Unfortunate Events". At the time, I didn't realize these were actually in a series so I just read them, enjoyed them and forgot about them. In transferring my books over to GoodReads, I was reminded and decided to pick up the first one to see if I wo
...more
Alexis
Feb 15, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, i've read some trashy books in the last few years, and this is one of the worst.

I got this book years and years ago when i was in primary school (about the age of 7) when the school book fair came passing. I liked the title back then. Thinking I'd get a story of ghosts and scary ghouls i handed over my money for it. The book was eventually forgotten the second i got it home though.. haha
Almost seven years to the day i found it amongst old childhood stuff as i cleaned out some old boxes from
...more
Donald Scott
It's hard to really describe the events of this children's book for ages ten and up ... mainly because so, so much is going on throughout it. The residents of the Strega-Borgia mansion are not having much good luck lately; mom and dad had a fight, leading to dad's storming out of the house - and then getting summarily kidnapped by some thugs working for his evil brother, as Signora Strega-Borgia wigs out and tries to pretend things are business as usual, including going off to her witchcraft cla ...more
Mandy
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
Precis: Mum's at witch school, and has chucked Dad out, when he is kidnapped by his Italian mobster family. The kids are playing on the computer, and have shrunk the baby and e-mailed her to the mobster's house. They have to get her back, with the help of a large talking spider, and one of Mum's wands.

I bought this book at a fete and read it to make sure it was okay for my daughter to read.

Well, that's the excuse I gave, but I could not resist the title could I? I really enjoy reading children's
...more
Jillyn
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The father of Titus, Pandora, and Damp Strega-Borgia has left home, and when he leaves, everything seems to go downhill. The children chase away nanny after nanny, each of which faces a rather unpleasant end. Finally, the job is given to Flora McLachlan, who is hiding quite a secret of her own.

In a dark, strange, technological world, all is not as it seems. Their seemingly estranged father is in trouble, and e-mails Titus. By an unfortunate mistake, their baby sister Damp is sucked away, and nob
...more
Brenda
May 31, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The dust cover describes this book as "a cyber-gothic-gangster fantasy" which fits it pretty well. I see the book as Mary Poppins meets The Addams Family meets The Soprano's. The story begins in Scotland at the Strega Schloss with the Strega Borgia family interviewing Flora McLachlen, one of the many nannies who have interviewed at the Castle. This is the first book in the trilogy and centers on four themes. The children's father has been kidnapped, their mother is away studying to become a witc ...more
Conan Tigard
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure Dead Magic is a fun book about witches living a fairly normal life in Scotland, except for the magic, of course. The story revolves around an evil and greedy brother that wants to kill his brother's family to inherit all of their money. The story moves along at a steady pace, and sometimes seems a little slow. The assassin in the bunny suit was quite funny and I really enjoyed reading about him.

Titus, Pandora and Damp are interesting characters, but the new nanny is probably the most intere
...more
The Flooze
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lemony Snicket fans
A hilarious and clever introduction to the Strega-Borgia family, their assorted pets and the hired help.

Gliori has created a whimsical tale of magic and mayhem. The characters are distinct and likable, and plenty prone to getting into trouble. Pandora, Titus and Damp are precocious youngsters too smart for their own good. Their mother is a witch in training whose spells don't quite go as planned. Their father has been recently kidnapped. The cook thinks Readymix concrete makes for a lovely cake
...more
Isaac
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
key issues love family magic beast betrale
message family is everything
characters
Pandora sister, likes rats, mom and dad wierd intresting protagonist

Titus oldest child brother , cumputer geek likes mom and dad protagonist

Signora Baci Strega-Borgia mom learning witch craft in school misses husband protagonist

Mrs.McLachlan nanny secretly a witch makes awsome french fries protagonist

Don Lucifer half brother in law to Signora Baci wants to kill titus to get the money from his dad that was given to
...more
Eleonara
Mar 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one!!
I didn't enjoy this book at all. It felt like the author was trying WAY too hard to make it funny, but all it added up to was a mess. First, what kind of names are Titus Pandora and Damp? Especially damp, who would name their baby damp. The worst names, though, were the parents. The mothers name was Signora Baci Strega-Borgia and the father’s name was Signor Luciano Strega-Borgia, I didn’t get the difference until about halfway through the book and was utterly confused as to why signora/signor S ...more
Christy
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: corben
My 13 year old son and I just finished this surprisingly delightful and very humorous book and are headed full strength into book #2. This book is set to be in modern day with computers and the internet but revolves around a family of gangsters, witches, nannies, man-eating mythical pets, frozen grandmothers, and babies who get shrunk and sent across the world wide web through the modem. There was a slightly gruesome moment where someone lost their head but the "Addam's Family" feel of this book ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Wooden Mile (Something Wickedly Weird #1)
  • Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer (Clemency Pogue #1)
  • The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse: A Chet Gecko Mystery
  • Heaven Sent (Goddesses, #1)
  • The Sword in the Grotto (Araminta Spookie, #2)
  • Awful End (Eddie Dickens Trilogy, #1)
  • Escape from Castle Cant
  • Tobias e o Anjo
  • Eight of Swords
  • Story Time
  • Young Knights Of The Round Table (Young Knights Trilogy, #1)
  • The Haunting of Granite Falls
  • Shadows in the Darkness (Changeling Detective, #1)
  • Invasion of the Road Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales (Weenies series, #2)
  • Uma Aventura na Ilha Deserta
  • Un bon petit diable
  • The Silver Dolphin (Mermaid Curse, #1)
  • The Vengeful Half
Debi Gliori (born 1959) is a Scottish author and illustrator of children's books.
She grew up as an only child in Glasgow, and when young began drawing and writing stories. She started writing children's books in 1976, and attended art school in Edinburgh from 1979 to 1984. She then received a travelling scholarship award to go to Milan, and worked as a freelance from 1984 onwards.
She is the author
...more
More about Debi Gliori...

Other Books in the Series

Pure Dead (6 books)
  • Pure Dead Wicked (Pure Dead, #2)
  • Pure Dead Brilliant (Pure Dead #3)
  • Pure Dead Trouble (Pure Dead #4)
  • Pure Dead Batty (Pure Dead #5)
  • Pure Dead Frozen (Pure Dead #6)

Share This Book

“Bombs Away!" he yelled, swooping low over StregaSchloss. He saw little figures on the ground fleeing from the large green projectile that was speeding their way. "And a direct hit, if I'm not mistaken," he observed to himself. With a tremendous slapping sound, Ffup's digestive overload landed on a human target. There was a scream, a ghastly choking sound, and then silence.” 2 likes
More quotes…