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HOUDINI by Jason Lutes Kirkus Star


The Handcuff King

by Jason Lutes & illustrated by Nick Bertozzi

Age Range: 11 - 15

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-7868-3902-3
Publisher: Hyperion

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)