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Escape!: The Story of The Great Houdini

Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini, by Sid Fleischman

Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini - by the Newberry medalist Sid Fleischman - now you see him ...buy-from-amazon  Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini  is a very well-done biography of Harry Houdini aimed at middle school-aged children (grades 4-8).   It is written by Sid Fleischman, a Newberry Award-winning author – as well as a magician, who was fortunate enough to have had a friendship with Houdini’s widow, Bess, later in her life.   It is an affectionate biography, written by someone who despite his obvious admiration for his subject, doesn’t overlook his various faults, such as his egotism and his overpowering drive to be the best.   It’s a balanced biography, showing his generosity, his closeness to his family, and his doting on his mother.

Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini  is a very readable book, illustrated with dozens of photographs.   My twelve-year-old daughter devoured the book, and I have to admit that I enjoyed it as well.   I strongly recommend it for anyone with middle school-aged children.

Table of contents for  Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini

Preface: Sleuthing the Houdini Story
He was born, but where?
From rags to rags
King of the necktie cutters
The Pygmalion of East 69th Street
Dressing up the act
Magic for sale!
Mr. Beck beckons
Don’t walk on the grass
The Queen’s dress
The Siberian mystery
Double-crossing
The ink-stained wretch
The life expectancy of an eggshell
Unmasking an icon
Walking through a brick wall
One elephant to go
The movie star
The man who fooled Sherlock Holmes
The phantom follies
The pajama pocket
Postmortem
Digging around in Houdini’s past

About the author

Sid Fleischman  wrote more than sixty books for children, adults, and magicians. Among his many awards was the  Newbery Medal  for his novel  The Whipping Boy. The author described his wasted youth as a magician and newspaperman in his autobiography  The Abracadabra Kid. His other titles include  The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, a novel, and three biographies,  Sir Charlie: Chaplin, The Funniest Man in the World;  The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West; and  Escape! The Story of The Great Houdini.

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