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HARRY HOUDINI by C.E.L. Welsh

HARRY HOUDINI

by C.E.L. Welsh & illustrated by Lalit Kumar Singh

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: July 27th, 2010
ISBN: 978-93-80028-25-5
Publisher: Campfire

A clumsy graphic biography of the renowned illusionist. Capturing the last six weeks or so of Houdini’s life, it shows him as a hardworking perfectionist with the ultimate “show-must-go-on” attitude. Taking a young apprentice under his wing, Houdini teaches him the art of magic, up to his untimely death. The boy’s uncle, a fan, contributes interstitial “journal entries.” As biography, this book is hugely problematic. Odd inconsistencies within the narrative include a faux–New York Times article from the day of Houdini’s death; readers may well think the text is from the actual publication, when in fact it is not. With no source notes or other background information provided, there is no way for readers to know where the author has taken artistic license. Also conspicuously missing are any recommendations for further reading or suggestions of websites to visit. Singh’s art is bland, leaving a dull patina on typically exciting subject matter. Skip this altogether and grab Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi’s exquisite—and better-researched—Houdini: The Handcuff King (2007). (Graphic biography. 9-12)