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The Houdini Box

Page history last edited by Chanda Bolander 10 years, 5 months ago

Plot Summary


The Houdini Box  by Brian Selznick is a heartwarming tale of young boy, Victor, who is aspiring to be a great magician like Houdini. Victor attempts to perform famous tricks that Houdini once performed. For instance, he locks himself in his grandmother’s trunk and tries to escape. Victor also attempts to hold his breath for five thousand seconds under water. Although his attempts fail, he one day meets Houdini in a train station who invites an eager Victor to his house. When Victor gets to Houdini’s house, he is met by Houdini’s wife and she gives him a box and tells him that Houdini has died. Victor is discouraged when he realizes the initials on the box are E.W., and he believes that this box holds no secrets to Houdini’s tricks. He buries the box and forgets about his dreams of becoming a magician. Years later, when playing ball with his son near the cemetery, Victor stumbles upon the grave of Houdini himself and realizes the name on the gravestone said Ehrich Weiss, the exact initials that were on the box he had received as a young boy. Victor is so excited he races home with his son and waits until his family is asleep to open the box. After opening the box and learning the secrets of Houdini, Victor is able to lock himself in grandmother’s trunk once again, but this time he is able to escape in less than twenty seconds




Textual Elements


The theme of this book is never giving up on your dreams regardless of how difficult things may seem. Life gives people obstacles all the time and we just need to learn how to make it through them in order to get what we want. Victor is struggling to find a purpose in life, and by admiring someone who seems to make life look so magical he hopes to accomplish his dreams. The Houdini Box not only inspires kids to dream, but also offer them some wonderful history of some of the greatest unexplainable magical acts and people of our time.


Artistic Elements 


Analysis and Critique




Selznick, Brian. The Houindi Box.New York. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, 1991.

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