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Literature / Pie Magic

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Pie Magic is a 1998 British children’s fantasy adventure novel by Toby Forward.

Bertie George doesn’t have much going for him in life. He’s overweight, has no friends, and is always getting into fights at school. The only thing he enjoys is his job delivering pies for Mr. Platten’s bakery. One day a mysterious new customer gives him a formula to lose weight. He takes it before bed… and awakens to find himself as fat as ever, but floating on the ceiling. It turns out it was a potion for weight loss in the literal sense!


Bertie and his grandma will have to work together to help him get back his weight, lose his fat, and make friends for the first time.

This film contains examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Bertie is teased by the other children because of his weight.
  • An Aesop: Bertie believes that “no-one likes me because I’m fat.” He learns both to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and that people will like you if you’re nicer to them.
  • Big Eater: At the start of the story Bertie is overweight because he eats loads of chocolate bars, up to seven in a sitting on one occasion. Crucially, Bertie is still this at the end of the story after he slims down, he still eats a lot, but much healthier food like oatmeal and vegetable pies.
  • The Bully: Norman and his gang who tease Bertie for being overweight. The rest of his gang become friendly to Bertie at the end of the story.
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  • Cool Old Lady: Bertie’s no-nonsense grandmother and Molly the former globetrotting adventurer both fit this trope.
  • Exact Words: Mr. Gupta promises that the medicine he gives Bertie will help him lose weight. It does.
  • Formerly Fat: Bertie becomes this at the end of the story, as a result of his own hard work, not magic.
  • Literal Genie: Mr. Gupta seems to interpret Bertie’s request to lose weight literally. (Subverted in that he knew very well that Bertie wanted to slim down, but that making him weightless would achieve that in a roundabout way, by making him eat healthy food to weigh him down.)
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Gupta's Remedies, where Bertie buys his "weight loss" potion. As is typical for this trope, it disappears as soon as he tries to return.
  • Trickster Mentor: Mr. Gupta and Mr. Platten trick Bertie into adopting a healthier lifestyle.
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  • Weight Woe: Bertie despairs at his size and thinks it is the reason others dislike him.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To HG Wells’s short story The Truth About Pyecraft (with a far happier ending for the overweight character.)

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