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The Carnival of Lost Souls: A Handcuff Kid Novel Hardcover – October 1, 2010

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6–Jack Carr has never really belonged. A foster child who has been bounced from home to home, he has one constant in his life: his obsession with Harry Houdini. Jack's luck changes when he goes to live with the professor, an old eccentric who is looking for a boy interested in magic. But all is not as it seems at the idyllic house. The professor had sold his soul to the Amazing Mussini, a magician of the dead. Jack suddenly finds that he is going to the Land of the Dead in place of the professor and is part of Mussini's Traveling Carnival. His only wish: to escape before he joins the dead. But in his way are his own success at performing his handcuff act and the brilliant mind of Mussini himself. Quimby keeps readers feeling Jack's tension and danger throughout the story. The Land of the Dead is a unique world with minotaurlike guards and bored dead people. The chapters are interspersed with excerpts in verse of a biography of Houdini. Though a little distracting, they do reflect what is going on in Jack's mind and are perhaps supposed to represent the book Jack always carries with him. Readers are sure to look forward to future adventures of the Handcuff Kid.–Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Jack Carr, a foster kid fascinated with handcuffs and Houdini, seems to have found a perfect new father in the magic-savvy Professor Hawthorne. But the professor, who sold his soul to the great, terrifying magician Mussini 50 years ago, sends Jack to take his place in a sort of underworld carnival of the damned. Jack forms a circus family with other kids trapped by Mussini to perform in the Forest of the Dead and perfects his act while planning a wily bout of escapism to return to the world of the living. There’s a lot going on here—including a nice series of change-of-pace poems that trace Houdini’s life—and Quimby attacks the onstage scenes of Jack coming into his own as the Handcuff Kid with particular gusto. She also uses some nifty narrative misdirection to swing a few surprises throughout, and if readers can quell a few nagging concerns (possibly to be dealt with in future Handcuff Kid novels), they’ll settle into a nicely paced, clever mix of ghost story and sideshow spectacle. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Series: Handcuff Kid
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810989808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810989801
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RavenousReader on October 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Jack is a boy who was shuttled from foster home to foster home, not finding a place that was comfortable. At the beginning of this book, he goes to live with the Professor. The Professor had made a deal with Mussini, an evil magician who wanted to be better than Harry Houdini. The Professor had to give up his soul to the magician, but he sent Jack to Mussini instead. Jack opened a chest in the professor's room and found that he was invited to see one of Mussini's shows. He later found out that he was lured to act in one of his shows and he had to take on dangerous magic tricks. Fortunately, Jack was a handcuff escape artist and he surprised Mussini with his tricks.

I think the book is well-written because it has lots of action and teaches you a little bit about Harry Houdini. The author uses lots of descriptive words that tells you a lot about Jack's adventure, almost making you feel like you are in the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By frostdawn on August 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I found the story engaging, with a cool, creepy vibe to it. I particularly like when authors give their take/explanation on how the supernatural 'works' in their stories' worlds and the Land of the Dead did not disappoint in that regard. The group of lost souls that Jack meets up with each contribute to the story in their own special ways, and I found myself rooting for each in turn- which sets you up for some surprise twists later.

Another nice touch is providing some background history on Harry Houdini- whom Jack, the protagonist idolizes. The progression of Houdini's life and trials often set a parallel to the troubles Jack faced in each chapter, providing a nice tie in, not just for Jack, but informing the reader as well, and setting the stage for the story as it unfolds.

Here's to hoping a series springs forth from this light, entertaining read, recommended for all ages.
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Format: Hardcover
This is Laura Quimby's first book. It is about a boy, Jack Carr, who is an orphan and from the book I think his age is about twelve to fourteen. His hobbies are magic, especially escaping hand cuffs. Jack is adopted by Professor Hawthorne but the Professor sells Jack to evil magician Mussini. Jack has to travel with Mussini to the land of the dead. Jack is not the only one who is captured by Mussini, there are other children too. Jack thinks that he will be performing magic tricks in front of living people; instead he has to perform in front of the dead, in the Forest of the Dead.

Mussini steals people's souls away, to make the dead come to his show all the time. Jack wants to get away from Mussini because he doesn't want his soul taken away. Will he be able to run away from the amazing Mussini?

The main characters in this book are Jack, the Professor and Mussini. There are also others like Jabber, T-Ray, Boxer, Runt, Violet and Mildred. My favorite character of the book is Jack because he is very curious and is really cool. My least favorite character is Mussini because he is really mean to Violet, a girl whom Jack likes.

My opinion of the book was that it was excellent. The book was mostly serious, but had some humorous parts like when Jack tries to act all cool in front of Violet. It was very interesting to read about how Jack did amazing things like wrestling a pig and escaping from handcuffs. But I would say that the book could have been longer and could have had a little more humor. I hope the author makes it a series just like the first book.

I would recommend this book to anybody who likes adventure and mystery.
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The Carnival of Lost Souls: A Handcuff Kid Novel
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