By Janice Weaver
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 50 pages, $18.95

Don’t Take Your Eyes Off the Book You See Before You

Harry Houdini: The Legend of the World’s Greatest Escape Artist is Janice Weaver’s latest biography written for young people. Readers will be enchanted by the stunning combination of photographs and reproductions of letters, posters, magazine advertisements, and many of the props Houdini used in his shows. Illustrator Chris Lane’s original artwork captures the breath taking moments of Houdini’s famed escapes from traps including the Chinese Water Torture Cell, the Barrel, Metamorphosis, and the Handcuffs. The text is written in chapter format. When placed next to the pictures and memorabilia from Houdini’s past, the book does a great job telling the story of Harry Houdini’s life. Kids will enjoy the section titled “Helpful Hints for Young Magicians Under Eighty” where Houdini reminds children that “an old trick done well is far better than a new trick with no effect” and that “rabbit tricks are a positive success.” When your kids finish this book faster than humanly possible, don’t assume it was magic. This is really just a great book, one that young readers won’t want to put down until they’ve finished. When they are through, they’ll know all about one of the most beloved magicians and escape artists of all time.

Elizabeth Franklin