By Laura Quimby, Amulet Books, $16.95, 352 pages

10“Sometimes rules weren’t meant to be broken – they were meant to be shattered with a baseball bat.”

If orphan Jack Carr thought life was difficult before he met his new foster dad, he is in for a huge surprise. Things seem perfect when he first meets the Professor. They both enjoy magic and idolize the famous escape artist Houdini. Jack starts to feel at home. But his guardian has a secret and when Jack discovers it, his life is turned upside down! He is tricked into becoming part of the traveling show of an undead magician named Mussini. Anyone who stays in the Forest of the Dead for too long, dies. Other stolen kids who’ve been tricked by Mussini are in the show too and Jack wants to plan an escape for them all, one that is worthy of Houdini himself!

New author Laura Quimby brings readers to The Carnival of Lost Souls, a magical adventure. Quimby targets readers ages 10-14. Both girls and boys will be drawn to the book’s unique characters (magicians, Death Wranglers, and minions). Between chapters are free verse poems about Houdini’s life and career as an escape artist. Don’t be surprised if the young reader in your life is inspired to try some magic of their own after reading The Carnival of Lost Souls.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin