Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower (7-9yrs)
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 con in 1925, when he managed to "sell" the Eiffel Tower to one of the city’s most successful scrap metal dealers! Six weeks later, he tried to sell the Eiffel Tower all over again. Vic was never caught. For that particular scam, anyway. . . .
Kids will love to read about Vic's thrilling life, and teachers will love the informational sidebars and back matter. Award-winner Greg Pizzoli’s humorous and vibrant graphic style of illustration mark a bold approach to picture book biography.
Gr 3–6—This picture book takes a look at Robert Miller, a successful con man who managed to dupe many and by posing as a government official was even able to "sell" the Eiffel Tower to scrap metal dealers, before being caught and imprisoned. Miller used more than 45 aliases during his life but was known to many as Tricky Vic. This is a fascinating story, with quirky, retro-style, mixed-media art that will appeal to readers. Beyond a line or two at the beginning about Vic turning to a life of crime, Pizzoli doesn't moralize about his subject's actions. Tricky Vic is a little-known subject, and some may wonder if there's an audience for this title. However, this is an intriguing account, and through sidebars, the book offers some effective avenues for discussing related historical events, people, and places, such as Al Capone, Prohibition, counterfeiting, and Alcatraz. An attractive, though esoteric, offering.—Dorcas Hand, Annunciation Orthodox School, Houston, TX