Har­ry Houdini

Janet Piehl; Tad But­ler, illus.
  • Review
By – September 9, 2011
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.

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