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HOUDINI by Kathleen Krull


World’s Greatest Mystery Man and Escape King

by Kathleen Krull & illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8027-8953-6
Publisher: Walker

Still a name with which to conjure, Houdini left swaths of his past and his techniques shrouded in mystery—but here veteran biographer Krull peeks behind the curtain for glimpses of his life, his feats and his character. It’s that character that comes through most clearly; “fierce about his craft,” Houdini dedicated himself to perfecting his escapes—several of which get blow-by-blow, present-tense recaps that invite readers to share the audience’s amazement—while polishing his legend and, as he quipped, “making an honest million.” In smoothly accomplished oils, Velasquez frames much of the tale as a stage performance narrated by an announcer in top hat and tails; adding posters and other evocative details to the settings, the artist accurately depicts the magician, his wife and many of the trunks, cases, shackles and other constraints from which he escaped with (seeming) ease. Budding magicians won’t find more than hints here of how Houdini did it, but a tempting set of print and digital resources caps this perceptive and dramatic tribute. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)