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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Anything But Ordinary Addie -- Book Review

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of this book free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Have you heard of Adelaide Herrmann? She is known as the Queen of Magic but her story was lost until recently. Hazel became very interested in magic after we watched the Houdini DVD back in October. I knew learning about a female magician would spark her interest and it is perfect for Women's History Month. The book however is being released in April. It is Anything But Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Hermann Queen of Magic written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Iocopo Bruno. 

http://candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763668419&pix=y

 Addie was born in 1853 in London. Her parents were Belgian so she and her siblings grew up speaking French.  Addie never wanted to be ordinary. She seemed to be driven to the stage. Once she saw an advertisement in the newspaper and she sewed herself a dancing dress and joined the troupe. Her family was shocked, but Addie was very good, but she felt it was too ordinary. 
Harvard Theatre Collection - Hermann TCS 28
Adelaide Herrmann as Sleeping Beauty By Photographer unidentified [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons an advertisement for the performance gives the year 1903
Next she began to do tricks on the boneshaker. She dazzled crowds in Europe. On her way back to America she met Alexander Herrmann who was known as Herrmann the Great. She told him she wanted to marry him and they were.
Alexander Herrmann
Alexander Herrmann See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
She became Herrmann the Great's assistant. Their show grew in popularity and they hired more performers. Then Alexander died. Addie did not know what to do. She didn't want the show to end since there were others who depended on the work. She knew all the tricks that Herrmann the Great performed but she feared no one would come see a female magician. She decided she had to try the trick that scared her the most and had made Alexander promise her he would never try. The show was a great success and her show continued on for thirty more years. She was successful at doing what she loved even as a female in a man's world. She wrote her own memoir but no one would publish it. The memoir was given to her favorite niece upon her death. She tucked it away with family photographs. Books about the history of magic only mentioned Addie as Herrmann the Great's wife and assistant. However a female magician named Margaret Steele heard about Addie from another magician who knew much of the history of magic and it made her want to learn more. She searched and searched until Addie's memoir was found. Margaret got the memoir published in 2012, so now Addie's life can be glorified and she can be a role model for our daughters.
 
Inside Spread Source

This book is wonderful and shares the details of Addie's life and personality. At the end there are notes about more details on both Addie's professional life and about how the story came out. Hazel absolutely loves this story and the book is beautiful!! I hope you will check it out and learn about this fascinating woman!!

This month we also read about Beatrix Potter (Hazel studied her in her author studies class and wanted to know more), Isabella of Castile, Frida Kahloand some real life multicultural princesses. What women have you learned about this month?