The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini by Peter Johnson

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Synopsis

For fans of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee, Gary D. Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars, and Jack Gantos's Joey Pigza Books comes a hilarious and poignant slice-of-life novel from critically acclaimed author and poet Peter Johnson.

When an author comes to speak to his class in a rundown area of Providence, Houdini decides to make money by writing his own novel. Houdini chronicles his life as he and his friends start a leaf-raking business, befriend Old Man Jackson (a Vietnam War veteran with a seriously intimidating dog), and get even with the neighborhood bully, Angel. But it's hard to find a way to write about his dad losing his job or his brother, Franklin, who is first reported missing in action in Iraq and then still seems to be missing when he comes home.

No matter what, Houdini and his friends rely on one another to figure out how to do the right thing. And Houdini discovers that writing and thinking about his friends and family lets him get to know them in completely new ways.

 

About Peter Johnson

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Richard Olney was born in Marathon, Iowa, and has lived in France since 1951. A renowned authority on French cooking, he is the author of numerous cookbooks, including "The French Menu Cookbook"--and the awardwinning "Simple French Food." Olney was also chief consultant on the Time-Life series, "The Good Cook." Equally well-known as a wine writer, he is the author of "Romanee-Conti" and "Yquem" which received the Prix Litteraire des Relais Gourmands 1986. Olney is a member of L'AcadÉ mie Internationale du Vin and other wine and food organizations. In 1992, he received le Prix de I'AcadÉ mie du Vin de France ""pour l'ensenmble de son oeurve et de son action iternationale en faveur du vin. Bannister was born in Britain, but grew up in Africa.
 
Published January 24, 2012 by HarperCollins. 192 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini

Kirkus Reviews

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After an author’s visit to his classroom, John creates a novel, formed from the very novel kids are reading, and devises a series of lists to guide him.

Jan 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Amazing Adventures of Joh...

Publishers Weekly

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Nicknamed Houdini due to his obsession with the magician, the 13-year-old lives in Providence, R.I., in a neighborhood sandwiched between an affluent section and “the one people won’t walk through after midnight unless they have a bodyguard.” Presented in the guise of a novel that Houdini, ...

Dec 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Amazing Adventures of Joh...

Common Sense Media

Houdini's close family includes his brother, the classic football hero turned war hero, and his hardworking parents are willing to go the extra mile to help someone out.

Jan 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Amazing Adventures of Joh...

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Houdini's close family includes his brother, the classic football hero turned war hero, and his hardworking parents are willing to go the extra mile to help someone out.

Apr 25 2014 | Read Full Review of The Amazing Adventures of Joh...

Reader Rating for The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini
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