Saturday, November 14, 2015

Class Act, Module 12: Biographies & Auto-biographies featuring Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini by Sid Fleischman

As y'all know, I'm a Library Science student at University of North Texas. This semester I have the pleasure of taking an AWESOME class called Literature for Youth! One of the things we have to do is read some books from a list my Prof has provided us and then make up a blog and post reviews over what we've read. CLEARLY this is right up my alley! So, instead of making a completely different blog, every Saturday I'm going to start posting this new feature! 

Biographies and Autobiographies

Hardcover,  224 pages
Released: August 1, 2006
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Source: Library

     Book Summary: Vanishing elephants and escaping from trunks, this book had all that and more. Sid Fleischman helps to show the world about the famous Houdini! From his earliest years when he was a poor boy to his latest years when he became rich by becoming a world renown magician.  

Reference: Fleischman, S. (2006). Escape!: The Story of The Great Houdini. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books. Retrieved November 14, 2015.


     I chose a book over the great Houdini because I figured it would be a cool book to check out and read since I'm a huge fan of magic. But I was wrong. Although the content in this one was really interesting, it just wasn't told in a great way. 
     One thing I've learned from the previous chapter was when talking about things with a lot of information, the author should always have an intriguing writing style that will keep the reader wanting more and an artistic art style to help the reader stay interested. In this book the pictures were very interesting, but the writing was dull. It felt as if I was in a history class just copying down facts. 
     As for the content, I did enjoy what was written. It told all about his different escapes and what other magicians thought of him. I liked that even though the author was a former magician as well, he didn't give up any of Houdini's secrets. It gave a sense of solidarity. But at the same time, he didn't show any bias at all to Houdini because he still asked the reader questions instead of just stating his opinions. 
     This book wasn't my favorite, but there are some good things about it like the content and the pictures. I'm not sure I would offer this one as a read to my children patrons unless they are looking specifically for him. 
Overall, I give this

Professionals are Saying...



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)
Retrieved from: Kirkus(2010, May 20).ESCAPE!: THE STORY OF THE GREAT HOUDINI[Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdiniby Fleischman, S.]. Kirkus. Retrieved from:

Library Uses:

     I would use part of this in a book talk with a magic demo. I would also include a few simple magic tricks to shoe the children the thought process and determination that goes with them and I would also have a couple books on magic and the most important people (right now) in the magic business. It seems as if it would be good fun for them.

Book Image from:


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