The Amazing Harry Kellar: Great American Magician

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Overview


Presenting the amazing Harry Kellar! The first magician to receive international fame! The most well-known illusionist at the turn of the twentieth century! The model for the Wizard of Oz! Author Gail Jarrow follows Kellar from a magician’s assistant traveling and performing across the United States during the Civil War to an international superstar with a show of his own, entertaining emperors, kings, and presidents. Jarrow uses Kellar’s own words and images—his amazing four-color promotional posters—to tell ...
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Overview


Presenting the amazing Harry Kellar! The first magician to receive international fame! The most well-known illusionist at the turn of the twentieth century! The model for the Wizard of Oz! Author Gail Jarrow follows Kellar from a magician’s assistant traveling and performing across the United States during the Civil War to an international superstar with a show of his own, entertaining emperors, kings, and presidents. Jarrow uses Kellar’s own words and images—his amazing four-color promotional posters—to tell his riveting story in this first Kellar biography for young readers. And she reveals the science behind Kellar’s illusions and explores nineteenth-century entertainment and transportation as well as the history of magic, spiritualism, and séances.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

* "A first-rate visual presentation accompanies a fascinating biography of the first dean of the Society of American Magicians, a man Houdini regarded as a mentor. . . . Dozens of spectacular Kellar posters along with a dramatic book design nicely support this well-constructed look at a consummate showman. (timeline, bibliography, annotated sources)" --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "This book draws readers in. . . . An excellent example of nonfiction that is readable, visually appealing, and well researched." --School Library Journal, starred review

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Though many people today have never heard of him, Kellar was once America's favorite magician and a friend and mentor to Harry Houdini. Born to German immigrants as Heinrich Keller, he left home early and began work as a magician's assistant. After many years traveling the world, the hardworking yet congenial Kellar became so famous that he performed for President Teddy Roosevelt's children, and many readers of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (published in 1900 at the height of his popularity) felt that the wizard was modeled on him. Jarrow includes just the right mix of biographical information, anecdotes, and descriptions of the performer's illusions. Frequent sidebars provide context for historical events, people, and magic terminology mentioned in the text. Heavily illustrated with a mixture of archival photos; drawings; and stunning, full-color reproductions of the posters advertising Kellar's shows, this book draws readers in. Ample back matter, including a time line, notes, and a list of sources for further information shows the depth of the author's research. An excellent example of nonfiction that is readable, visually appealing, and well researched.—Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Kirkus Reviews
A first-rate visual presentation accompanies a fascinating biography of the first dean of the Society of American Magicians, a man Houdini regarded as a mentor. The son of German immigrant parents, Harry Keller (later Kellar) lived in his hometown of Erie, Penn., only until he was 10, when he hopped aboard a train bound for Cleveland, Ohio, in 1859. He apprenticed to a performing magician a couple of years later. Kellar's career in magic and illusion led him to South America, England and Australia before he achieved recognition and success in the United States. Kellar's meticulous attention to detail in the building of his illusions and in the staging of his performances led to his success. Traveling magic shows and established theatrical illusionists were a widespread entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, incorporating aspects of spiritualism (Kellar demonstrated that he could replicate anything a medium could do) and mechanical wonders like automatons in their performances. Kellar and his team borrowed from other well-known performers, and he worked to polish and improve the illusions to perfection. Few secrets of the illusions are revealed here, but Jarrow makes it clear that it was Kellar's art that made them seem like real magic. Dozens of spectacular Kellar posters along with a dramatic book design nicely support this well-constructed look at a consummate showman. (timeline, bibliography, annotated sources) (Biography. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590788653
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2012
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 972,895
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gail Jarrow is the author of The Printer's, Robert H. Jackson, and Lincoln's Flying Spies, all for Calkins Creek. Her articles and stories have appeared in Highlights, Cricket, Muse, Spider, and Cobblestone. A graduate of Duke University and Dartmouth College, Gail has taught in grades four to eight. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 16, 2012

    MAGIC READING

    Parents! Want your children to disappear for two hours and magically re-appear with clean teeth, a tidy room, and all their homework done? Then buy this book and discover the magic of Harry Kellar! Well, the first part is true. Your children will be so quietly engrossed with the exploits of the amazing Kellar that you may think they disappeared (but no promises about the rest). Or if you want to help your children find the enjoyment of reading and discovering a colorful character of American history, the author's magic--numerous photos, well-researched story telling, a helpful index, a list of magic resources--will cast its spell. What child is not fascinated with the art of magic? What adult hasn't tried or studied a few slight-of-hand tricks to entertain guests? We can, at least, be entertained with learning about this amazing predecessor of Houdini. Thank you, Gail Jarrow. Your book entertains us!

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