I, Houdini
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I, Houdini

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  569 ratings  ·  47 reviews
You may think Houdini is a strange name for a hamster, but if you've ever heard of the late Great Houdini, the most amazing escape-artist of all time, you'll understand how I got my name. I'm proud to say that there hasn't been a cage built that can hold me. I can climb, dive, wriggle, squeeze, or gnaw my way out of any prison they came up with. I have to admit that someti...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 1st 1991 by HarperTrophy (first published January 1st 1978)
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Dorian
I had this book as a child and was rather fond of it, so when I came across it in the library lately I had to have another read.

It's still...yes, almost as good as it was 30 years ago. Okay, now I look at the intemperate behaviour of the Father and consider it iffy, but, well, it's also largely necessary for the plot.

The eponymous Houdini is a hamster who makes it his life's work to escape from everything he's confined in. The book starts with him coming home, presumably just old enough to leave...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: I enjoy the author and have always wanted to read this title. But specifically I was intrigued with the publisher's new list under the title of "First Modern Classics" aimed at younger readers. Originating from the publisher's UK house the titles on this list, which started last year (2009) are a unique selection for North American readers.

I, Houdini is a long time classic of the author's, though this is my first time reading it. This book includes new illustrations, which re...more
April
I've read this book too many times to count. Found it in a used bookstore downtown and after reading it, I never understor od why anyone would give it away to a used bookstore. Since then I've never come across it again in any store but I'm so glad to have found a copy of it in that used book store. It is one of the best books I've ever read, and although short, good things come in small packages. I loved how much it reminded me of one of my hamsters, who also seemed to be an amazing escape arti...more
Sean O'Reilly
I bought this with 85p of my very own pocket money when I was at primary school and I've had it ever since. Over the years I've read it myself (obviously), to children I have taught and to my own litle Uncruliars. Now we've decided to send it out into the wide world.

It's an enjoyable children's story. As it says on the cover the 'autobiography of a self-educated hamster'. Houdini gets into some pretty scrapes as he enjoys his escapology. There are laughs and scares along the way to a satisfying...more
Cheryl in CC NV
A bit like Cleary's 'Mouse and the Motorcycle' and a bit like all the stories about little people like Stuart Little and The Borrowers. But Banks is the author of The Indian in the Cupboard, so she knows there are different ways to explore the theme than simple survival, which is just about the limit of *some* of the other stories based on this premise.
Sara
Listened to the author read this on a road trip long ago. Maybe I'm exaggerating the rating, but dang, I remember all of us, kids and adults, being enthralled.
Nancy
Just as much fun as I remember. Houdini has adventures in every direction and is (endearingly) completely full of himself!

As a kid, the daughter of a musician, I was completely horrified when Houdini chewed the felt off the hammers in the piano. The rest of the damage he does - chewing up floorboards, carpet, and flooding the kitchen - went right by me. As an adult I still wince over the desecration of the piano, but true horror is reserved for the rest. Flooded kitchen, yikes! I'm afraid I have...more
Marian
I read this back when I was a kid and it probably set the stage for me sending my brother across the highway to pick out a hamster. Repeatedly.

And yes, one was named Houdini in honour of this book.

I was curious to see how well this held up and so I read it to the Widget a few years ago. He preferred Humphrey, his first foray into talking hamsters, but enjoyed it all the same.

Adult me found Houdini way more smug than kid me did, but it still holds up very, very well.
Shauna
Really a strange little book. Not at all what I thought it would be. It's a pretty straightforward look at the duality of a domesticated vs. wild hamster, from a rather precocious hamster's POV. What could be a delightful children's tale of a hamster's life is marred by some unsavory adult themes. I guess I was hoping for a little more magic.
Books Kids Like
This intrepid hamster's owners change his name from Goldy to Houdini when it becomes obvious that he has a talent for escaping. Houdini learns to understand human speech. He also becomes obsessed with freedom. His little escapades result in chewed carpet, splintered wooden molding, and punctured water pipes. Houdini chews the felt from the piano hammers to make a nice bed. When the family goes on vacation, Ben, the boy-next-door, takes care of him. Houdini has his first taste of the outside worl...more
St-Michel
Growing up I loved The Indian In The Cupboard series by Banks. This was a book written, I'm supposing, after she concluded that series - I'm not totally sure. It's about a escapist hamster told from the hamster's perspective. It's an interesting notion and a fair-to-do children's book. I never thought it held its weight against the superior series of The Indian... though and felt it came off rather lackluster, and truthfully, I always thought that hamster was a bit of an ungrateful jerk. However...more
Anthony Faber
Kids' book. Clever story of a hamster escapologist. Writing is still a little off, but it's a decent rea
Leon
This is the first book I ever remember reading when I was a child, and read it numerous times! I'm not sure if I should re-read it as an adult as it may ruin my fond memories of it? :P
Nancy
I remember liking this as a kid. But I'm reading it now as an adult to my kids, and it's dragging on and on. Plus I had to paraphrase and skip over all the hamster lust parts when Houdini meets a girl hamster and is in her cage for a bit because my kids are 7 and 5. I think my son (5) sort of likes it. My daughter (7) just read I, Freddy (a newer hamster diary book) and can't wait for us to be done with this one so I'll read I, Freddy aloud to her brother claiming I, Houdini is long and boring.
Bridget
I read this book dog-eared and shredded when I was little, and I found a copy at a used book store recently. I think as a kid, I loved the premise of looking at the world from the perspective of a tiny animal. As an adult, I was SO ANNOYED by the pompous hamster voice! It reads like the most condescending lecture ever. Which, I think, is just the character of Houdini, but I guess as a grown up it's annoying instead of interesting. Oh well. It's a good book for kids who like animal based stories.
Vasu
I houdini is a fantasy book about a hamster with skills like Houdini's.It's about the hamsters life; is really funny.This book is an amazing one.
Sarah
Children's fiction it may be, this gem of a book explores the social constructs of gender through the lens of one hamster, Houdini, who also happens to be quite the escape artist. I think it satisfies a range of ages, from those looking for the typical house pet story full of thrills to freshman sociology students looking to score extra credit for evaluating the text for gender and sex role constructs.
Marissa
Truthfully I didn't - scratch that! COULDN'T finish this book. It dragged on and on! And its only a 100 or so paged book. I only made it to page 86. I kept having to force myself to pick it up and tell myself I only had a bit more to go but I just couldn't anymore. Houdini was annoyingly cocky and snobby. And the mating part was very weird.
Joy
I found this to be an odd mixture of realism and anthropomorphic pet story. It was a bit too weird to me to have a hamster narrating in a very human style his life as a hamster: complete with all the animal instincts (procreation included, ew) in such an offhand way.
Alenna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elaine
It was a long, long time ago, and yes, it's one of those cute anthropomorphized-animal books, but it's (in hindsight) missing a lot of writing. What happens between the scenes is quite lacking. Still, good for little kids.
Katrina Sutton
After reading her other books, The Fairy Rebel, and The Farthest Away Mountain, I decided to read this one. It was a delightful book and it must had made an impression on me because when I got a hamster, I named her Houdini.
Bryan457
May 14, 2010 Bryan457 added it
Recommends it for: those who like hamsters or tales of escape
Houdini is a little more true to life than say Ralph in The Mouse & the Motorcycle. He spends his time trying to escape and does not enjoy being a pet. He wants to be free. He is also not as likable, being very self focused.
Janet Shaw
A very silly children's book but I have a weird thing for chubby hamsters. The only hamster-narrated book out there that I know of. Great stuff for kids to read for imagination growing =]
Susan Katz
Houdini's adventures and perspective are interesting though somehow I didn't find his voice to be that of a convincing hamster (as if I know how hamsters speak).
Alisha
I love this book! This is my most favorite! Houdini is so cute! He's not just like any ordinary hamster. He has personal feelings. Everyone should read this book.
Kimba
Taran and Lucy really enjoyed this one; I as well. Houdini amuses us all and we enjoy reading of his exploits. Now, I believe my children are hoping for a hamster.
Abigail Farrin
Funny, cute, and keep you reading. I liked this book because Houdini is a hamster that can escape from any cage and that's how he got his name. It's funny.
Katelyn
it is super funny and intresting Ilove hamsters and it is funny how he flooded the kitchen (not funny to the owners) He is a totoly troublsome hamster.
Amanda
Jun 19, 2008 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!!
Recommended to Amanda by: a brilliant librarian
Shelves: all-time-favs
Banks was one of my favorite authors growing up. I loved the "Cupboard" series, but I always loved "I, Houdini" best!
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Lynne Reid Banks is a British author of books for children and adults. She has written forty books, including the best-selling children's novel The Indian in the Cupboard, which has sold over 10 million copies and been made into a film.
Banks was born in London, the only child of James and Muriel Reid Banks. She was evacuated to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada during World War II but returned after...more
More about Lynne Reid Banks...
The Indian in the Cupboard (The Indian in the Cupboard, #1) The Return of the Indian (The Indian in the Cupboard, #2) The Secret of the Indian (The Indian in the Cupboard, #3) The Mystery of the Cupboard (The Indian in the Cupboard, #4) The Key to the Indian (The Indian in the Cupboard, #5)

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