Houdini is a very detailed interesting book. The author is a master in her craft. This book is a good read for all. She did an excellent job of finding an abandoned cat and placing him in a loving home and taking him out of that home, leaving him to find his way home. This book is suitable for pet owners and non pet owners.
Houdini Captures the True Spirit of the Human-Animal Bond Nov 24, 2005
T.J. Banks has written a wonderful book for children and adults both who know what it's like to be owned by a cat! Following the trials & tribs of Houdini was a no stop read! I didn't put it down until I was finished. Very recommended. Kim Cady www.cleverkitty.org
Appealing to both young readers and adults Nov 10, 2005
Houdini is a gripping story of unconditional love that young readers and adults alike will enjoy. Lots of writers attempt to appeal to both groups, but few strike the perfect balance like T. J. Banks. Having been owned by two siamese cats myself, I almost felt as though I knew Banks' character Jill personally.
Enough to make a cat cry -- and smile -- Nov 2, 2005
For anyone who has ever been owned by a Siamese -- or by any other kind of cat -- HOUDINI rings true. Houdini's misadventures and suffering will wring the heart of any animal love. And his determination to find his way back home to the child who loves him will have those of us who have lost pets cheering for him all the way.
Jennifer Brown, Bookpleasures Oct 27, 2005
Who ever said cats don't care about their owners? Houdini, a Flamepoint Siamese kitten who was abandoned by some college students in an on-campus apartment, is all about his owner. Jill, a kind hearted little girl with a fondness for cats, takes in Houdini and gives him the best love and care he'd ever known!
Houdini is happy as a fat cat, living a life of adventure with Jill's other cats. But Houdini's adventuresome spirit takes him too far one day and he finds himself far, far away from his beloved Jill. When tragedy strikes poor Houdini, his luck turns around. He meets a kind artist who cares for him and loves him as her own. But will Houdini ever love her the way he loved Jill?
HOUDINI, by T.J. Banks, is a young adult novel for cat lovers. It is no doubt that Banks is an extreme cat lover herself, a fact that is apparent in her painstaking descriptions of the moods, motions, and idiosyncrasies of the cats in her book. This careful attention to detail will delight cat lovers who will find Banks' cats doing all of the endearing things their own cats do.
Young adult books with animals as main characters all tend to struggle with a certain balance, and unfortunately HOUDINI struggles with it as well. That is the balance between ignorance and wisdom. On the one hand, the animals (in this case Houdini and the other cats) are completely ignorant of their surroundings. They will perhaps charmingly think of things in terms of "big machines" or describe things in purely physical form. But, other times, they seem to slip into a place of wisdom, where they suddenly know the human words for everything. Take, for example, the following passage:
"Houdini settled back down among the tumbled bedclothes, trying to make himself very small and failing completely. He was sure she would take him out to the tool shed to join the other cats as soon as she'd gotten funny human-skins on; so it puzzled him when she simply straightened out the bed as best she could without disturbing him and left" (pp. 131-132).
In this passage, Houdini seems both wise and ignorant. He knows what "bedclothes" are, as well as "tool shed" and "bed." But then he slips into ignorance and calls her clothes "funny human skins."
This is a difficult balance to strike, but is necessary when writing for young adults, whose attention is being consistently vied for by television, video games, and computers.
Overall, HOUDINI is a fast read that will surely entertain animal lovers and will absolutely thrill cat lovers. Who wouldn't love the sweet devoted soul of Houdini and cheer for him the whole way through?