There are many books for young people about Houdini. However, in just 48 pages, this book gives a comprehensive look at the man’s life, his achievements, and the events for which he will be most remembered. It also includes colorful drawings and black and white photographs of him and his family. The book draws attention to special information about Houdini which appears in shaded boxes. This includes: how he initially learned to pick locks; the use of a cabinet to prevent others from learning how he did his tricks: names of copycat performers, and Houdini’s “attempts to shut down their acts”; and how he reshaped truth into fiction that met his needs. For example, when he appeared in a photo together with Teddy Roosevelt and hundreds of other people, he had the picture retouched to give the impression that they were close friends. The result was that only the two of them remained in the photograph. At the end of the book, there is a timeline of the important milestones in his life as well as explanations of how he did some of his tricks. Sturdily bound, this book will perfect for report writing and Houdini fans. Ages 8 – 12.
Marge Kaplan is a retired English as a Second Language teacher. She is a consultant for the children’s literature group for the Roseville, MN school system and is a storyteller of Jewish tales.