Anything But Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic

Mara Rockliff, illus. by Iacopo Bruno. Candlewick, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6841-9
Rockliff and Bruno (Mesmerized) reunite for another spectacular book about the often illusory world of human showmanship. Standout illustrations lend a magical aura as they spotlight the life of female magician Adelaide Herrmann. Bold as their protagonist, Bruno’s stylish visuals create a show-within-a-show effect, complete with paper-doll-style cutouts framing each spread. Images of hands performing magic tricks border a scene of Addie dining aboard an ocean liner with her future husband, magician Alexander Herrmann, who causes plates and flowers to levitate above the dining table. The brief narrative often becomes part of the illustrations, with the text styled to appear on a banner, as newspaper headlines, or down the length of stage curtains. Following Alexander’s untimely death, Adelaide daringly moved forward with what was typically a man’s vocation during the latter half of the 19th century, creating “dazzling, astonishing tricks of her own.” This charming and visually dramatic read gives children a front-row seat for the story of an ahead-of-her-time entertainer. Author notes detail the scope of Adelaide’s influence, as well as the search for elusive sources about the groundbreaking performer. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/25/2016
Release date: 04/12/2016
Genre: Children's
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