Harry Weiss—later known as Harry Houdini—is enthralled when the circus comes to his Wisconsin town. He loves all the acts, but his favorites are the tightrope and the amazing trick where a man hangs from a rope by his teeth! Harry and his brother decide to try circus tricks in a nearby barn, and although Harry’s headstrong determination leads him into trouble, it also opens up a whole new world. In this evocative story, Eric A. Kimmel tells how Harry Weiss discovered his love for performing, many years before he became world famous.
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Eric Kimmel is the award-winning author of several well-known children’s books, including A Horn for Louis and A Picture for Marc, which was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book. He lives in Portland, Oregon.From School Library Journal:
Grade 2–4—Harry Houdini's life was interesting and full of examples of persistence and dedication to his craft. Unfortunately, not many of them are represented in this brief chapter book. In this story, Ehrich Weiss, the son of a rabbi, attends a small circus and is inspired by the tightrope act. He goes home eager to try it for himself and soon learns the secret. Then he tries another stunt with disastrous results. He loses his front teeth, but learns an important lesson. The book contains a few true facts about Weiss's childhood and mentions his early interest in locks and performing. The writing, though fluent, is a little didactic. Children will see through the thinly veiled preaching about being polite, persistent, and careful. Black-and-white drawings, some full page, appear throughout. A better fictionalized account of Houdini's life is Kathryn Kilby Borland and Helen Ross Speicher's Harry Houdini: Young Magician (Aladdin, 1991). In it, the lessons arise from the story rather than being superimposed on it. It also gives much more factual information about Houdini's life.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
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