cover image Houdini and Me

Houdini and Me

Dan Gutman. Holiday House, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4515-8

Having been born in the New York City house in which Harry Houdini lived the last years of his life, 11-year-old Harry Mancini has become obsessed with the famous magician, learning the illusionist’s history and picking up magic tricks of his own. When Harry is injured trying to flatten a coin on the train tracks near his home, he wakes up from a coma and finds a gift box with an old flip phone inside, and soon he is getting texts from none other than Houdini himself. The texts are exciting until Houdini seeks to re-create his most famous trick and switch lives with Harry for one hour, sending Harry to Kansas City in 1921, where he’s expected to escape from a straitjacket. Things become truly hair-raising when Houdini suggests taking over Harry’s body again, this time for good—and with or without Harry’s permission. Gutman (the My Weird School series) touches on profound topics through Harry’s chatty narration, such as the boy’s yearning for his late father. Interspersed with New York City facts and photographs of Houdini, this entertaining story ends, appropriately, with a touch of magic. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Liza Voges, Eden Street Literary. (Mar.) [/em]