Har­ry Hou­di­ni: A Mag­i­cal Life

Eliz­a­beth MacLeod
  • Review
By – April 2, 2012

Born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hun­gary 1874, Har­ry Hou­di­ni was the poor immi­grant son of a rabbi. 

Due to his death defy­ing stunts” which ranged from mak­ing an ele­phant dis­ap­pear to his Milk Can Escape” and big­ger than life the­atrics, Hou­di­ni has gone down in his­to­ry as the world’s most famous magi­cian. With a lega­cy of amaz­ing escapes and illu­sions and fea­tured in six Hol­ly­wood films, magi­cians today still pon­der over his tricks. As a young boy of four Har­ry immi­grat­ed with his fam­i­ly to the Unit­ed States. When the fam­i­ly moved to Mil­wau­kee, Wis­con­sin, Harry’s father took him to see the grue­some enter­tain­er, Dr. Lynn, whose final act was to dis­mem­ber a man and then put him back togeth­er again. At age six, young Har­ry was hooked for life and devot­ed the rest of his life find­ing ways to amaze an audi­ence in the art of illu­sion. In his own words, Hou­di­ni com­ments, Nev­er try to fool chil­dren. They expect noth­ing and there­fore see every­thing.” Har­ry was full of adven­ture and fun and was always young at heart; with this rule of thumb; he kept the mind of a child close at hand and his mag­ic always remained a mys­tery as well as delight­ful enter­tain­ment for the whole fam­i­ly. This title, the sev­enth of the Snap­shot Biog­ra­phy series” presents an up-close, per­son­al­ized view of the life of a great man who has changed the face of mag­ic. Large, over-sized illus­tra­tions, many black and white pho­tographs, a detailed time­line, a great index, and a list of actu­al places to find out more about Hou­di­ni will engage young­sters and make this a sure win­ner. For ages 8 – 13.

Debra Gold has been a children’s librar­i­an for over 20 years in the Cuya­hoga Coun­ty Pub­lic Library Sys­tem. An active mem­ber of the ALA, she has served on many com­mit­tees includ­ing the Calde­cott, New­bery and Batchelder committees.

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