Harry Houdini is a fascinating subject. The high points of his life are captured here in this title, which is part of the publisher's "Ready-To-Read" series. The spirit of the great magician comes through in the simple text, which emphasizes both his single-minded devotion to becoming the greatest in his field and his love of family. Houdini (his real name was Ehrich Weiss) was born in Hungary. He and his family emigrated to America when he was a young boy. Because they were very poor, Houdini and his younger brother had to work instead of going to school. When he was 13 years old, Houdini's younger brother showed him a magic trick. This launched Houdini's lifelong passion for magic. He trained his body and mind so that he could perform amazing feats, not only as a magician, but as an escape artist as well. The illustrations are a bit severe; Houdini's eyes seem to bug out of his head in every picture. However, the story is compelling and young readers will enjoy learning about the magician in this book, which is also part of the publisher's series called "Stories of Famous Americans." 2002, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, Pettenati
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This easy-reader gives an overview of the life of Ehrich Weiss, known to the world as Harry Houdini. The early years of poverty, his hard work to help support his family, and his interest in magic at a young age are simply presented. Readers will learn that magicians need quick, strong hands as well as self-confidence. However, there is an abrupt jump from the time he was 17 and changed his name to the statement on the next page that "After years of struggling, Houdini was finally famous." Children are sure to wonder why and how he suddenly became so successful. The time line states that Houdini became the greatest magician the world has ever known and lists several of his most amazing tricks but none of those details are included in the body of the book. The illustrations of Houdini's life are large and colorful, and will hold readers' interest, but the text itself seems incomplete.-Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Patricia Lakin, a former elementary school teacher and an award-winning author, has written more than fifty published works. Her books, both fiction and nonfiction, span multiple age groups—from toddlers to middle graders. Patricia lives in New York City with her husband, Lee Koenigsberg. They have two grown sons, Aaron and Benjahmin. When not reading, writing, or researching, she can be found traveling with Lee to far-off places in the world.