July 11 Birthday: Harry Kellar. THE AMAZING HARRY KELLAR: GREAT AMERICAN MAGICIAN

Harry Keller, Magician
July 11, 1849 – March 3, 1922

THE AMAZING HARRY KELLAR: GREAT AMERICAN MAGICIAN (Boyds Mills Press, 2012) by Gail Jarrow.

 School Library Journal:
Gr 5–8—Though many people today have
never heard of him, Kellar was once America’s favorite magician and a
friend and mentor to Harry Houdini. Born to German immigrants as
Heinrich Keller, he left home early and began work as a magician’s
assistant. After many years traveling the world, the hardworking yet
congenial Kellar became so famous that he performed for President Teddy
Roosevelt’s children, and many readers of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
(published in 1900 at the height of his popularity) felt that the wizard
was modeled on him. Jarrow includes just the right mix of biographical
information, anecdotes, and descriptions of the performer’s illusions.
Frequent sidebars provide context for historical events, people, and
magic terminology mentioned in the text. Heavily illustrated with a
mixture of archival photos; drawings; and stunning, full-color
reproductions of the posters advertising Kellar’s shows, this book draws
readers in. Ample back matter, including a time line, notes, and a list
of sources for further information shows the depth of the author’s
research. An excellent example of nonfiction that is readable, visually
appealing, and well researched.—Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library,
Portland, OR

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