Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower” as Want to Read:
Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,296 ratings  ·  248 reviews
A New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2015

In the early 1900s, Robert Miller, a.k.a. “Count Victor Lustig,” moved to Paris hoping to be an artist. A con artist, that is. He used his ingenious scams on unsuspecting marks all over the world, from the Czech Republic, to Atlantic ocean liners, and across America. Tricky Vic pulled off his most daring
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tricky Vic, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tricky Vic

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,296 ratings  ·  248 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower
So so so sooooooo good! This is what all nonfiction should be: exciting, engaging, and page-turning. Wow! I can't wait to share this with students! Upper-elementary and middle school teachers and librarians, this is a picture book you will want to put in your libraries. Any guy who conned Al Capone and lived is a guy worth reading about.

Read my review on my blog.
Matthew Winner
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
And finally is The Impossibly True Story of Tricky Vic, the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli. This is the best book ever this week. The design work on here, too. Greg is a screen print designer, if I'm saying that right. And his news story here, a picture book, a nonfiction story, about a con artist... I don't think you can handle the material any better. He's done such a wonderful job of bringing history to life and also saying about how this is bad guy, who swindled people out of ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Fascinating story about a con artist.
Picture book-style with lots of text.
Cool retro collage illustrations.

Didn't make my short list for school visits, but great for the right kid.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved The Watermelon Seed--and I was suitably charmed, entertained, and educated while reading Tricky Vic! I'm curious what sparked the idea of writing about Robert Miller for children, but I think this book will fall well in the theme of President Taft Stuck in the Bath--history told in a quirky, engaging way. ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
As Pizzoli points out himself in the author's notes, if this story wasn't true, it would be unbelievable. Great little book that uses some unique art styles to get the story across. This would be perfect to share with a budding artists who might need to learn how inspiration can come from anywhere, including a crazy con man's story! ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book! Really fun read & genius illustrations.
Dec 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
Initially, I rated this book 2-stars, but by the time I finished this write-up, I realized I didn't really think the book was "ok", and lowered my rating to the lowest possible. It may seem silly getting my undies in a serious wad over a mere children's book, but it's precisely because it is a book devised for children that I feel compelled to come out strongly against it. I'd like to know what the editors at Viking were thinking when they approved this one to be marketed to such young readers. ...more
I would have liked more reference to how he gathered and evaluated his sources, especially, when, as he notes, so many of them contradicted each other. He blithely announces that he changed one fact around because he felt it would work better in an earlier part of the story. The fact that he tells the kids this in the afterword does not excuse him from having placed some false information before the kids. Not that many kids read afterwords and this is written for a young enough level that they a ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Robert Miller is a one master con man. Known for a time as "Tricky Vic" he runs elaborate rouses in the US and Europe including fooling notorious mobster Al Capone and selling fake contract bids for the demolition of the Eiffel Tower.

This book is visually striking. The illustrations are layered and complex; stamps and photographs mix with ink illustrations. The strong horizontal lines on the cover carry on throughout the book to create an almost comic book layout.
There are vertical pull out sect
Karen Arendt
I loved the narrative text and the mixture of illustrations. Tricky Vic's face is always portrayed as a thumbprint. The text includes some sidebars about events from the past such as prohibition and the building of the Eiffel Tower. An intriguing read for 3rd grade and up, especially those that love crimes. ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I can't wait to share this book with my students who are into spies, Alcatraz, organized crime, and the like. Great story, cool illustrations, clean side bars with historical context, conversational tone to the text- so much to love here. Great job! ...more
Elisabeth Cole
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
What an amazing story! I'd never heard of Tricky Vic and once I started reading I couldn't put it down. This is my favorite type of children's non-fiction - intriguing enough that it makes me want to learn more. I think any child who is reading at the level this book is at would love it! ...more
Cassandra Gelvin
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This review originally published at

The tricky thing is the point.

It's one of those books that I'm not quite sure what to make of. It's an interesting story; I just don't really see what they're trying to say. I feel like some readers might think that it's glorifying con artists.

It's a nonfiction book, a biography of a man called "Tricky Vic", who was actually born Robert Miller in what is now the Czech Republic, in 1890. He became a gambler (probably a c
Caroline Griffith
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
This biography details Robert Miller's life as he pulls off more and more complicated cons the most insane of which is selling the Eiffel Tower not once but TWICE. This picture book took me on a journey with Robert Miller, or Count Victor Lustig as he liked to go by, as he travelled throughout Europe and the US scheming people and making himself rich. This book is definitely geared towards 5th and 6th grade as it touches on Prohibition and other historical contexts.

I would use this book to grab
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone 8 and up...Especially those who have a love for history.
This book was such delightful read!

I borrowed this from the library and I had no idea it would be so educational AND entertaining at the same time. This is the story of a con artist who lived from 1890 to 1947, his name was Robert Miller. (Although his disguised himself as Count Victor Lustig, Count Victor and Tricky Vic.)

Robert fooled many people, stole money from even more, and even tricked Al Capone!
Although he did spend some time in Paris, France, he spent most of his life either running a
Robin Yardi
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved the sneaky peek I got into TRICKY VIC. If I'd had this book when I was teaching third grade I know exactly who I would have handed it to first.

"Check it out," I would have whispered. "It's about a conman who gets into a knife fight on PAGE TWO. He sells the Eiffel tower, even though he didn't own it, cons a famous gangster, even though he was new in town, gets caught and then escapes from prison by scaling a building... pass it on when you're done and DON'T show it to Mrs. V."

I think it
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having known Greg Pizzoli from his fun little picture books like Number One Sam and Templeton Gets His Wish, I was taken aback when I saw he's written Tricky Vic: The Man Who Stole the Eiffel Tower; Tricky Vic is a complex nonfiction story for children. But don't let that keep you from this little delight of a book. Tricky is a wonderful story of a bad guy who runs scams on people, including the almost-unbelievable scam of selling the Eiffel Tower. It's breathtaking in the rich meanderings of th ...more
Becky R.
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting background about a famous criminal managed to swindle people out of money in a lot of different ways. The fact that he convince people to buy the steel in the Eiffel Tower is pretty crazy. This is just a good all-round history, picture book.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Fascinating read for anyone who loves a good con- as long as they aren't the mark! And, Robert Miller definitely duped a lot of people including Scarface himself, Al Capone. I enjoyed reading his multiple schemes. Unique artwork accompanies this middle reader nonfiction picture book. ...more
Liz B
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
The intriguing story of an early 20th century con man...which is a kind of weird topic for a children's picture book. I decided I wasn't quite ready to explain con men to my 8 year old...but I do wonder if there's a middle grade nonfiction book on this guy. ...more
Lisa D
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! Kids will love it!
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A con man. Paris. Greg Pizzoli's illustrations. What's not to love? ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I'll end up showing a student just to prove to them how vast the world of nonfiction is.

Will probably use those quotation marks as a reading mentor, too.
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's like Boardwalk Empire for kids. Really fascinating and I loved the use of fingerprints in the illustrations. ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-ya, kiddie-lit
Quick, interesting read about a piece of history I never knew...a con artist who actually sold The Eiffel Tower...when he didn't own it or have the right to do such a thing! Fun to read ...more
Ansley Cumberland
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
Robert Miller, or Victor Lustig, as he was known by many, was a con artist on the move. "Tricky Vic" ran with any idea that came his way, like gambling schemes on cruises, counterfeit money stored in a subway locker, or selling fake rights to the Eiffel Tower. This exciting, page-turning story tells the unbelievable account of a man who did it all!

This is one of those books that tells a story you wouldn't ever believe is true! Every page was a new crazy story that kept you wanting to read more.
Jamey Fischer
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Summary: This is the true story of a con man from the 19th century who jumped from scheme to scheme essentially tricking people into giving him money. From pretending to be a Count on a transatlantic cruise, to selling fake money replication machines, the infamous Tricky Vic knew how to con. This book describes all his schemes (that we know of) and how exactly he pulled them off.

Opinion: I enjoyed reading this book. Some of the cartoon illustrations and their conversations were pretty funny. It
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This biography about the life of Robert Miller, a con artist in the 1900's who managed to pulled off daring cons on countries and people of power all over the world, is something all students will enjoy! Robert Miller, also referred to as Count Victor Lustig managed to pull off one of the most successful con artist deals when he managed to trade the Eiffel Tower to a scrap metal dealer. He tried to sell it one more time and succeeded but was never caught. There also is a side bar and background ...more
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a surprising find, but I was so glad I ordered it from my local bookseller. Tricky Vic was a man born to con, and he really took advantage of people! Most of it is accurate: there are some notes in the back about trouble with research and the liberties the author took to write a good story. But any man who can con so many people - I mean, he conned Al Capone! Who does that?! - is the kind of person that kids want to read about. A special note that the illustrations in this book are beau ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Entertaining description of an international crook from the 1920s and 30s. Introduces several concepts to younger readers, including: con man, prohibition, counterfeit and bootleggers as well as Al Capone. Will be of particular interest to kids who are fascinated by printing money -- Tricky Vic's schemes usually pretended to print money or actually tried to print money.
Best for third and fourth graders; some advanced second graders may be interested.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
  • InvestiGators (InvestiGators, #1)
  • Just Because
  • Children Make Terrible Pets
  • Flubby Is Not a Good Pet!
  • Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
  • Here Is the Baby
  • Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
  • Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader?
  • Secrets of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist
  • June Almeida, Virus Detective!: The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus
  • A Million Dots
  • The Dark
  • A New Year's Reunion
  • The Lion and the Bird
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Greg Pizzoli is the author and illustrator of The Watermelon Seed, winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, Number One Sam, Templeton Gets His Wish, Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower, and coming in April 2016, Good Night Owl. He lives in Philadelphia.

Related Articles

We asked Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession, and journalist-turned-crime novelist Laura...
100 likes · 49 comments