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

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,282 ratings  ·  245 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
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,282 ratings  ·  245 reviews

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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.
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!
Ashley Andrews
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book! Really fun read & genius illustrations. ...more
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.
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!
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!
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
Shelves: france, adventure
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I picked this up to be a true crime book, because for a while there every book challenge had some variation on the true crime category. But then I never got around to reading it, so instead it became my ‘book I meant to read in 2019 but didn’t,’ which also works.

This is a book about a con artist who pulled off a series of cons, including selling the Eiffel tower. He was eventually caught and locked up in Alcatraz.

I liked the information in this book, the tone and the illustrations.
THIS is the biography I recommend all of the time, and it completely hooks kids. Their eyes are glazed over, their feet are dragging, they are overflowing with the total weight of the boredom of their assignment of being forced to read a biography, and then...I give them this!

It's amazing the change that comes over them! I talk it up just a little. Their parents look a bit skeptical. And then the kids take the book, a bit reluctantly, for forms' sake, and poof! A winner.
Jo Oehrlein
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Not sure what I think of this book.

The man at the center of it was a fraudster, a cheat, and a liar.

The author says that it's hard to verify the things in the book because people didn't want to admit he had cheated them.

So, essentially the book is glorifying someone who stole money from other people by publicizing things he might or might not have done.
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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.

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