The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini

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Harper Collins, Jan 24, 2012 - Juvenile Fiction - 192 pages
3 Reviews

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.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SharonWillett - LibraryThing

John Smith Jr. aka Houdini is thirteen and lives on the East Side of Providence. He’s obsessed and has read every book about the real Houdini. John helps his friends Lucky and Jorge rake leaves in ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chensel477 - LibraryThing

I won this as a giveaway from another site and was looking forward to it based on the publisher descriptions. However, I was rather disappointed once I got into it. The positives of the book were the ... Read full review

Contents

MY NAME
WHY THEY CALL ME HOUDINI
HOUDINI WEENIE
NO SWEARING OR SEX
TEN RULES FOR WRITING A KIDS NOVEL
MY NEIGHBORHOOD
WHATS IN A NAME?
MY FRIENDS I THINK WE HIT THE BIG TIME
FOUND TO BE MISSING
GET YOUR BEHIND IN HERE BOY
PART TWO
RIP
TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TO CALM DOWN YOUR FATHER WHEN HE LOSES IT WITH THANKS TO THE THESAURUS
FAMILY REUNION AT THE POLICE STATION
A WHOLE NEW ENEMY
NO EXPLANATIONS

TEN CREATURES MR GREGORY GREGORY COULD HAVE BEEN IN A PREVIOUS LIFE
MY FAMILY
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRAZY AND MEAN
EVERY NOVEL NEEDS A VILLAIN
A BUNCH OF WIZARDS WITH THEIR BUTTS STUCK IN BOOKS
OLD MAN JACKSON
GEARS OF WAR
TEN THINGS I MISS ABOUT FRANKLIN THAT ARE REALLY ONE THING
BEING A WRITER AINT EASY
A MOUNTAIN OF LEAVES
TAKE A HIKE
TWO HOUDINIS
PART ONE
TEN URBAN LEGENDS ABOUT JACKSON AND DA NANG
A LOT CAN HAPPEN TO A PERSON
WAR
IN THIS CORNER
THE IMPORTANCE OF BRAINS
TEN OTHER QUOTATIONS FROM HOUDINI
THE FIRST ANNUAL LEAFDIVING CONTEST
ONE GOOD REASON NOT TO INVITE ANGEL DIMITRI TO A LEAFDIVING CONTEST
A WORM OF AN IDEA
NINE IDEAS FOR REVENGE ON ANGEL I DIDNT USE AND ONE CRAZY ONE OFFERED BY JORGE
THE WORM CRAWLS OUT OF ITS HOLE
TEN THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HIP IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD
THE STORM
CAN WE TAKE A HAND VOTE ON THAT?
BARBER SCHOOL
OLD MANS JACKSONS HOUSE YET AGAIN
TEN WAYS TO DESCRIBE ANGELS SHAVED HEAD
VERY CREEPY
THE ZOO
DONT TELL ME ABOUT FAIR
THE STUPID LAW
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY
TEN OTHER GUESSES ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO ANGEL AT OLD MAN JACKSONS
TAKE A PILL OR SOMETHING
JOHN SMITH AND SONS
JUST LET IT END DUDE
BOOKS JOHN SMITH JR AKA HOUDINI MIGHT HAVE READ
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CREDITS
COPYRIGHT
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Peter Johnson grew up in Buffalo, New York, at a time when they had a good football team, which seems like fifty years ago. Similar to Benny Alvarez and his friends, Peter always loved words, knowing he was going to be a teacher or a professional baseball player. Also, being from a long line of Irish storytellers, he loved reading and telling tales, and when he realized that his stories changed every time he told them, and that he could get paid for this kind of lying, he decided to become a novelist. His first middle grade novel, The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini, was named one of the Best Children's Books by Kirkus Reviews, and he's received many writing fellowships, most notably from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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