Harry Houdini: The Legend of the World's Greatest Escape Artist

Overview


This illustrated biography of Harry Houdini combines original artwork and archival artifacts—including photographs, playbills and posters, letters, and even some of Houdini’s own stage props—to bring the story of the world’s greatest escape artist to life.
Readers will learn all about Houdini’s unique rags-to-riches story, from his birth in a Hungarian ghetto to his death from a ruptured appendix at age fifty-two. The book details his career as an escape artist and explains how...
See more details below
Hardcover
$16.20
BN.com price
(Save 14%)$18.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (28) from $1.99   
  • New (14) from $3.44   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...

Overview


This illustrated biography of Harry Houdini combines original artwork and archival artifacts—including photographs, playbills and posters, letters, and even some of Houdini’s own stage props—to bring the story of the world’s greatest escape artist to life.
Readers will learn all about Houdini’s unique rags-to-riches story, from his birth in a Hungarian ghetto to his death from a ruptured appendix at age fifty-two. The book details his career as an escape artist and explains how he evolved into the “King of Handcuffs” on the vaudeville circuit and became an international star as his escape attempts reached ever more elaborate and dangerous heights. Filled with little-known facts, this is the perfect book for readers interested in magic and the history of Houdini.
The book includes a bibliography and index.

Praise for Harry Houdini
"…a beautifully illustrated biography of this most fascinating man…With entertaining sidebars on metamorphosis tricks and dime bars, Harry Houdini is sure to enchant aspiring magicians, offbeat history buffs and anyone who, in our own straitened times, appreciates a good rag-to-riches tale"
New York Times

STARRED REVIEW
"Period photographs from newspapers, personal collections, advertising flyers, and other sources alternate with full-page color artwork to create a rich, engaging tableau. While there are several excellent biographies of Houdini available...this one is a solid addition."
School Library Journal, starred review

"A well-rounded addition to the children’s bookshelf about the multifaceted man."
Publishers Weekly

Award Recognition
2012 Orbis Pictus Recommended book
2012 Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award – Honor book

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Weaver’s (Hudson) well-researched biography of Harry Houdini paints a complex picture of the escape artist who worked tirelessly to fill the public’s appetite for thrilling stunts. Her wide-ranging narrative, making use of numerous direct quotations, allows readers to see Houdini not only as the “King of Handcuffs” but also as an entrepreneur, family man, movie star, debunker of spiritualists, and, always, an entertainer not above bending the truth for self-promotion. Firmly placing Houdini’s life in the context of his time, wide sidebar panels provide details on that era, from immigration and child labor to dime museums and first flights (in 1910, Houdini himself made the first official airplane flight recorded in Australia). Each spread is visually inviting, mixing b&w photographs and colorful playbills, sometimes alongside moody full-page paintings from Lane (an illustrator making his children’s book debut), which contribute to an overall air of mystery. A well-rounded addition to the children’s bookshelf about the multifaceted man who said, “My chief task... has been to conquer fear.” Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Prestidigitator, ghost hunter, magician, tie cutter, and messenger boy were some of Houdini's many pursuits, but escape artist is what he is most famous for, and rightly so. In this picture-book biography, Weaver tells the tale of how Ehrich Weiss, a Jewish immigrant and rabbi's son, morphed into the great Harry Houdini, magician and illusionist. His story is an interesting combination of luck, both good and bad; hard work; and sheer willpower, and the author conveys all of those elements in a manner that is accessible and thrilling to young readers. She covers everything from his early life in Wisconsin to the controversy surrounding his untimely death, as well as his widow's attempts to contact him in the afterlife through mediums. Period photographs from newspapers, personal collections, advertising flyers, and other sources alternate with full-page color artwork to create a rich, engaging tableau. While there are several excellent biographies of Houdini available, including Tom Lalicki's Spellbinder (Holiday House, 2000) and Sid Fleischman's Escape! (Greenwillow, 2006), this one is a solid addition. Houdini was a fascinating character and most collections can never have too much of a good thing.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Kirkus Reviews

Ehrich Weiss was born in Budapest and died Harry Houdini in Detroit, having lived a rags-to-riches story that was inescapably magical.

Though Harry's father had a law degree, was a rabbi and spoke several languages, he never seemed to find success, and Harry left home at 12 to find his way in the world. Like many children of the late 19th century, he had little education but many jobs. He was a newspaper boy, an assistant cutter in a tie factory, a shoe shiner and a messenger boy, but he escaped these dead-end jobs to find a future in magic, where there were better things to escape from: handcuffs, jails, milk cans and a Chinese Water Torture Cell. Though the cover bills this volume as "The Legend of the World's Greatest Escape Artist," Weaver's narrative is straightforward and factual, never quite conveying the excitement and magic of her subject. The unusual mix of original art and archival material—photographs, promotional posters and playbills—is bolstered by effective sidebars that offer historical context for the narrative. A section of references and resources will lead young readers to good books and websites that will help bring Houdini's magic to life more effectively than the text does by itself.

Overall, a solid-enough introduction to Houdini; good escapist reading that should lead to more. (source notes, index)(Biography. 8-12)

Pamela Paul
…a beautifully illustrated biography of this most fascinating man…With entertaining sidebars on metamorphosis tricks and dime bars, Harry Houdini is sure to enchant aspiring magicians, offbeat history buffs and anyone who, in our own straitened times, appreciates a good rag-to-riches tale.
—The New York Times
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419700149
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 638,818
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Janice Weaver is a noted non-fiction author for young people. Her book Hudson received a starred review from Booklist. She lives in Toronto. Chris Lane, an illustrator whose work has appeared in numerous publications, lives in Oakland, California.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 29, 2012

    This book bring you into the fascinating life of Harry Houdini.

    This book bring you into the fascinating life of Harry Houdini. This book bring together beautiful illustrations but also actual artifacts, such as pictures,letters, and posters from Harry's prime days. We learned about Houdini's childhood and how his love of magic came about. Houdini was born in 1874 in Hungary, at the age of four he moved to the states with his mother and brothers, joining their father. At a very young age he fell in love with magic. After years of struggling to make ends meet, Houdini and his brother booked a job at Coney Island. This is where he met the love of his life Bess, they were married three weeks later and formed a husband-wife duo. Once Harry honed in on his escaping act he was unstoppable. He went to San Francisco and then eventually started touring Europe. He was able to escape and death defying trap, his trick only became more and more dangerous until finally he made up the most dangerous trick ever seen. It was called the Chinese Water Torture Cell, in this act Harry had to escape a large glass box filled with water, in which he was placed in upside down and chained by his ankles. Houdini died in 1926 at the age of 52. He may be dead but his remarkable death defying tricks will forever live on.This book will keep any reader interested in the history and magic of Harry Houdini.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2012

    Janice Weaver created a very interesting illustrated biography a

    Janice Weaver created a very interesting illustrated biography about Harry Houdini. This book contains archival artifacts as well as pictures of Houdini throughout his life. Harry Houdini was born on March 24, 1874, as Ehrich Weiss, in Budapest. As a young boy he loved swinging from ropes and doing very unusual things to impress people. When Houdini moved to the United States he was trying to find out what he wanted to become. He decided that he wanted to become a magician. He actual became a great one. Becasue of one of his tricks, he became known as the "escape artists". This would be a great book for any one who is interested in magic or anyone who is just interested in learning about Houdini.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)