A Picture Book of Harry Houdini

Overview

Readers will be mesmerized by this captivating biography of one of the most celebrated escape artists and magicians in history.

Harry Houdini astounded audiences around the globe with his death-defying acts and illusions. With his wife, Bess, often by his side, he freed himself from ropes, handcuffs, straight jackets, and prison cells. Though Harry was always intrigued by magic, his life was not always so glamorous. As a boy he shined shoes to...

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Overview

Readers will be mesmerized by this captivating biography of one of the most celebrated escape artists and magicians in history.

Harry Houdini astounded audiences around the globe with his death-defying acts and illusions. With his wife, Bess, often by his side, he freed himself from ropes, handcuffs, straight jackets, and prison cells. Though Harry was always intrigued by magic, his life was not always so glamorous. As a boy he shined shoes to help his family make ends meet. Yet a career in magic was always in the cards. Includes a selected bibliography, source notes, important dates, and recommended websites.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Della A. Yannuzzi
In this book, David and Michael Adler have written a succinct story about Harry Houdini, a magician and escape artist who became famous for his death-defying feats. He was born in 1874 in Budapest, Hungary and moved with his family to the United States when he was a young boy. When the circus performed in his town, he enjoyed watching the magicians. When he was older, he joined a circus and performed his own escape tricks. His real name was Ehrich Weisz, but when he read a book about a French magician named Robert-Houdin, he changed his name to Harry Houdini. He and his wife traveled to Europe, where Houdini performed his act. When he came back to America, he was an international star. In time, Houdini's acts became more and more dangerous. Handcuffed, he jumped off bridges into icy waters and stepped inside boxes that were nailed shut and thrown into deep water. In spite of these obstacles, he would typically free himself within less than a minute. It seemed Houdini was invincible, but that changed one night in 1926. Some daring students came to his dressing room and asked to test his physical strength by punching him in the stomach. Houdini agreed, but was punched before he could tighten his stomach muscles. Two days later, Houdini collapsed. His appendix had burst from the blow, and it became infected. He died on October 31, 1926. Back material includes source notes, a bibliography, and a list of websites. Many full-page illustrations add to the text with their rich, lifelike qualities. Reviewer: Della A. Yannuzzi
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—From Houdini's humble beginnings to international superstardom, this picture-book biography presents the highlights of the magician's life. Deeply hued illustrations, heavy with red and black tones, are well suited to the subject and give the text added drama and depth. Careful research is reflected in the quotations that are fully attributed and an authors' note describing historical discrepancies that exist with regard to Houdini's background. Events are detailed in a straightforward, mostly chronological arrangement that makes the book easy to follow for beginning readers. Kathleen Krull's Houdini (Walker, 2007), also a picture-book biography but written for slightly older children, is more successful in capturing Houdini's unique spirit and personal oddities.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823423026
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 303,069
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David A. Adler has written more than a hundred books for children, including his well-known Picture Book Biography series. Visit him on the web at www.davidaadler.com.

Michael S. Adler has coauthored four other picture book biographies with his father, including A Picture Book of Samuel Adams, named a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year. He lives with his wife in New York State.

Matt Collins has illustrated numerous picture books for children. His art has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated for Kids. Visit his website at www.mattcollins.com.

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