Houdini and the Magic Molt

December 1st, 2013 Release

Book cover
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The writing of Houdini and the Magic Molt

Tally Scully

A book begins with an idea, an idea that must be fleshed out, nurtured and finessed. The creative process for Houdini and the Magic Molt began with just that, an idea for a children’s book about a Chinese praying mantis who finds magic in the process of molting. Like many good ideas, this fictional story stems from a real life scenario. From the moment my husband, Mike, and I purchased an ootheca from an online vendor, watched the hundreds of tiny mantises emerge from this mantis egg case, and invested ourselves in their ultimate survival, we found ourselves entranced by these small creatures with big personalities. We were inspired by their patience when hunting for food or waiting for an impending molt. The molt process itself is truly magical, as the mantises one-by-one shed their old skin, growing larger and stronger each time. It was indeed the magic molt of one particular mantis that almost didn’t escape his exoskeleton, who we later named Houdini... Read more →

“ Perhaps the single most important lesson to be learned by direct experience is that the natural world, with all its elements and interactions, represents a complex system….Human beings interact with complex systems very successfully. We do it all the time. But we do it by managing them, not by claiming to understand them….There is an endless iterative interaction that acknowledges we don’t know for sure what the system will do—we have to wait and see. We may be right much of the time. But we are never certain. ”
- Michael Crichton, Introduction to MICRO, August 28. 2008