Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Harry Houdini: A photographic Story of a Life

Harry Houdini: A photographic Story of a Life

Vicki Cobb
For ages 8 to 10
DK, 2005   ISBN: 978-0756612450

Harry Houdini died more than eighty years ago and yet he still fascinates people and is an icon for those who are interested in illusions and escape artistry. Just like in his tricks, he was not always what he seemed. Was he a fake or a genius? Was he who is said he was?

Ehrich Weiss had very humble beginnings and his early life was decidedly unglamorous. In fact it was so unappealing that he would later pad his story with romantic tales to make it more interesting. The son of a poor rabbi, Ehrich took on a number of jobs including one at a tie factory which bored him to tears. Though it offered a very uncertain future Ehrich and a friend began working together as magicians. Traveling around the country they performed in small shows, making very little money and struggling to make ends meet. Harry was preparing to quit his showbiz career when he finally got the break he needed ? he met a man who could see the promise in the intense young man who had big dreams

In a very short period of time Harry went from being a little known small time magician to being a star who traveled all over the world. With the help of his wife Bess he built an enormous following and created an image for himself which heightened his aura of mystery and intrigue. Harry would not share the secrets of how he was able to pull off his astonishing performances and many of them went with him to the grave.

Readers who enjoy the drama and excitement of magic shows will find this book interesting and enlightening. Well written and with lots of photographs to accompany the text, this is an excellent biography about a very intriguing man.