Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ESCAPE! by Sid Fleischman Kirkus Star

ESCAPE!

The Story of the Great Houdini

By Sid Fleischman

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: July 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-085094-9
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

It seems obvious that Fleischman, Newbery author of numerous novels involving magic, would write a biography about master magician Houdini, but it took decades before he was able to transport his personal connection and admiration into a book. Fleischman separates fiction from fact, discrepancies and contradictions of Houdini’s life as skillfully as sawing a woman in half. What sets this biography apart from and above others is the author’s personal involvement with his subject; it’s a mesmerizing configuration of both lives. When Fleischman found a forgotten box of photos of the magician that Houdini’s wife had personally given him, they ignited his curiosity—could he unveil the illusions of the great man? Cunning chapter titles, spacious format and the black-and-white photos that profile the man’s unique mystique are tied together like a string of silk scarves spilling from a sleeve that fascinate, intrigue and amaze. What do you get when you put two prestidigitators, one a spellbinding escape artist, the other a magician with words, into a black hat and wave the wand? Abracadabra—a feat that’s pure magic. (Biography. 9-14)