The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick – Teaching Literary Skills with Picture Books

#30 of the picture books that I have been sharing. Picture books that can be used to teach literary skills to middle or high school students. Just because they are in the older grades doesn’t mean that picture books can’t be a great resource on its own or as a paired passage.

The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick – Teaching Literary Skills with Picture Books

51Z-jH3d0vL._SX387_BO1,204,203,200_Description from Amazon:

Victor is forever trying to escape from locked trunks, walk through walls, and perform any number of Houdini’s astonishing magic tricks…without success. Then — amazingly — he actually meets his idol, and begs Houdini to explain himself. A mysterious locked box is the magician’s only answer, and Victor is left to wonder: Does the box contain the secrets to the most famous magic tricks ever performed?

Literary Skills that can be taught with the book The Houdini Box?

escapology (use word parts to define word)

Historical Fiction
What is historical fiction?
How can a fictional story be written about a real person?

Compare and Contrast
Complete a Venn Diagram or Comparison Chart for Victor and Houdini

Quotation Marks
How are the quotation marks used in the dialogue of the characters?
What is dialogue and how can you tell when it is occurring?

Will Victor ever be able to learn the tricks of Houdini?
What is in the box that Houdini’s wife gave Victor?
How will Victor get the box open?

What day does Victor visit Houdini’s house based on the wife’s question, “What are you supposed to be?” and the other children in costume?
What can you infer about the name Houdini since the box has the initials E. W.?
Why do you think Victor named his son Harry?
Why did Victor wait for his wife and son to go to bed before he tried to find the box?

Writing Activity
Write a creative story about what Victor finds in the box and how it helps him escape the trunk in 20 seconds.
Write a letter to Victor from Houdini explaining the box and its contents.

Extension Activity
Pair this story with “An Interesting Note” at the back of the book.
Discuss the advertisements at the beginning and end of the book.
Have students create a puzzle for other students to escape or beat.
Field trip to an escape room

The Houdini Box can be found on Amazon click HERE

Want more? There is more and can be found on the resource at TpT.

Follow this blog and my TpT store for more great picture books to teach to secondary students.

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