HOUDINI

THE HANDCUFF KING

Compelling black-and-white illustrations galvanize a moment in the life of revered magician Harry Houdini. Lutes explores the events up to and around Houdini’s infamous 1908 feat: a daring jump from Harvard Bridge in which his hands and feet are bound in handcuffs. Though Lutes offers an examination of Houdini’s masterful dedication to his craft, he also gives attention to some of the more serious issues in Houdini’s life, including his devotion to his wife Bess, his commitment to science and disproving spiritual fraud and his encounters with anti-Semitism. Bertozzi’s illustrations are simply spectacular, with many panels fluidly conveying motion and sound solely through his captivating art. There are many wordless passages that never fail to move the plot along and mesmerize the reader. As Glen David Gold forewarns in the introduction, this book may lend itself to multiple readings; and with helpful “panel notes” and bibliography, young readers are sure to investigate this fascinating life further. A straightforward snapshot in the life of renowned magician Harry Houdini, and a glimpse into a life of determination and perseverance. (Graphic format/biography. 11-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-7868-3902-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2007

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PEAK

Dare-devil mountain-climber Peak Marcello (14), decides to scale the Woolworth Building and lands in jail. To save him, his long-lost Everest-trekking dad appears with a plan for the duo to make a life in Katmandu—a smokescreen to make Peak become the youngest person in history to summit Mount Everest. Peak must learn to navigate the extreme and exotic terrain but negotiate a code of ethics among men. This and other elements such as the return of the long-lost father, bite-size chunks of information about climbing and altitude, an all-male cast, competition and suspense (can Peak be the youngest ever to summit Everest, and can he beat out a 14-year-old Nepalese boy who accompanies him?) creates the tough stuff of a “boys read.” The narrative offers enough of a bumpy ride to satisfy thrill seekers, while Peak’s softer reflective quality lends depth and some—but not too much—emotional resonance. Teachers will want to pair this with Mark Pfetzer’s Within Reach: My Everest Story (1998). (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202417-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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