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A Picture Book of Harry Houdini (Picture…
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A Picture Book of Harry Houdini (Picture Book Biography)

by David A. Adler

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Who was Harry Houdini? How was this man able to escape being locked in a coffin that was thrown into the water? How did he escape being submerged in a barrel filled with water? How was he able to break the cuffs that bound him and escape from prison? We may never know.

This picture book brings to life the story of Harry Houdini, a Hungarian immigrant who emigrated to the American northeast and became one of the world's most famous magicians. The book chronicles his early life first. Born Erich Weisz, in Hungary in 1874, the eventual Harry Houdini had to take odd jobs as a shoe shiner and a salesman, among others, before his rise to stardom. Since opportunities for the family of eight were limited, Houdini had to help them out--his Dad was a Rabbi, but couldn't speak English. Along Houdini's journey he learned odd tricks from traveling circuses and eventually became one of the world's most renowned magicians. The illustrations in the book are riveting (magic tricks in action) and help bring the story to life. The narrative is equally engaging. The incredulous tone of the author's words almost makes this biography sound like a fairy tale, even though the book is non-fiction. Non-fiction narrated as if it were a fairy tale? That sounds like the perfect read-aloud book for children after a playful recess. I believe all elementary school students would enjoy this book.

The only sad part of this book is the end--how the mystique of the great Harry Houdini is brought to an end like a punch to the stomach, the act that literally killed him. ( )
  rdthomps | Jan 30, 2015 |
Perfect biography choice for students. Houdini was so fascinating and the book always surprises children when they discover how he actually died. Everyone always this he must have died during one of his escapes, but his death is not as glorious and mystifying as his stunts. An absolute must have for the classroom, wether you read it as a Read Aloud or as an independent choice, get it! The illustrations are an added bonus in this wonderful picture book! ( )
  Taranto | Dec 2, 2014 |
What struck me most about this book were the illustrations. Magic is an attempt to make possible what seems impossible. The illustrations seem to follow this path as well. Unlike the other books that I've read, this book seems to pay great detail to the illustrations. Individual muscles are sculpted while facial expressions and shadows seem to be accurate to their purpose. It was rather sad hearing that such a great person dies of punches from a kid.

I found the final picture to be the most dramatic. The city seems pristine while there is an incredibly long line of people to mourn Harry Houdini. The contrast between sad and fresh was interesting. And I must admit, for a performer, he has one of the greatest death bed quotes, "I am tired of fighting. Guess his thing is going to get me." It is exceptionally understated for a person who had performed the extraordinary his entire life. This was a great book.

Where did that elephant go?
  jhuynh5 | Apr 21, 2014 |
This book is about the magician and illusionist Harry Houdini. I would read this book to students to teach them about a famous magician who was able to make something of his life. He was born into a poor family and had a harder childhood, but he made a name for himself; a good example for students. ( )
  crfonten | Mar 25, 2013 |
Harry Houdini astounded audiences every where with his amazing, death defying illusions and tricks. Houdini freed himself from ropes, handcuffs, and straight jackets. Houdini's tricks mesmorized people time and time again. The illustrations in this book were very bright, colorful, and realistic. I like the fact that it's a picture book and appeals to children so they're leaerning without realiing it. ( )
  Klefort | Nov 11, 2012 |
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early biography will introduce readers to Houdini. Good choice for readers that are not ready for The Houdini Box.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0823420590, Hardcover)

Harry Houdini repeatedly amazed 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, and prison cells. Though Harry was always intrigued by magic, his life was not always so glamorous. His family was extremely poor, and as a boy he shined shoes to help them make ends meet. Yet a career in magic was always in the cards. Readers will be mesmerized by this captivating picture book biography.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The story of how Harry Houdini astounded audiences around the globe as he freed himself from ropes, handcuffs, and prison cells.

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