Friday, May 31, 2024

Harry (and Banjoe!) on the Highwire

Today sees the U.S. release of Harry and the Highwire: Houdini's First Amazing Act by Julie Carpenter with illustrations by Laura Catalan. The fold-out book is published by Green Bean Books and is a delightful and well-done Houdini book for children.

As a young boy of seven, Harry is desperate to do something incredible – but what? A visit to the circus provides the answer when he sees the daring tightrope walker thrilling the audience. From that moment on, all Harry wants to do is to walk the tightrope. But how?

His first try, on the family clothesline, ends in disaster but Harry’s not about to give up yet. He starts practising in his every spare moment and in every location he can think of. Will he get to the other side or will he fall? (And will his pet chicken Banjoe be able to keep up?)

One thing I really like about Harry and the Highwire is the inclusion of Harry's trained Bantam chicken Banjoe, who appears on every page. Banjoe was real. Bruce MacNab, author of The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini, discovered Banjoe's existence in a letter at the Harry Ransom Center.

You can purchase Harry and the Highwire at or

Want more? I've shared the full Banjoe letter and a photo of my own Banjoe on my Patreon below.

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