Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Harry Houdini

A Picture Book of Harry Houdini

David A. Adler, Michael S. Adler
Illustrator:  Matt Collins 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Holiday House, 2009   ISBN: 978-0823420599

Ehrich Weisz was one of six children, and because money was scarce in his family, Ehrich starting working when he was still very young to help support his brothers and sisters. He sold newspapers, shone shoes, and worked for a locksmith who taught him how to open locks of all kinds. Whenever he could, Ehrich watched circus magicians, trying their tricks for himself with varying degrees of success. Occasionally he was able to get a few jobs that allowed him to perform feats of magic for an audience.

Then in 1891, when he was seventeen, Erich changed his name to Harry Houdini. A few years later he married a girl called Bess who became his assistant on stage when he did his magic tricks. At first these tricks were quite ordinary, but over time Harry began to develop escape tricks that “attracted lots of attention.” He escaped from police station jails, freed himself from chains underwater, and even found a way to get out of a milk can that was full of water and padlocked shut.

This excellent book will delight young readers who have an interest in Harry Houdini and his extraordinary life. With wonderful paintings throughout, this picture book biography is a great example of the genre.