An unseen man they call the Toad is stalking twelve-year-old Kevin and his older sister, Holly. They flee town in Holly's beat-up old car, driving west until they reach the Pacific Ocean. They change their names and attempt to hide in plain sight as street performers in Venice, California. But have they really eluded the Toad?
From the opening sentence, this page-turner of a novel is alive with surprise twists and suspense. Imagine a buried city made entirely of gold! Watch big Bumpy Rhoades juggle twenty-pound watermelons on the boardwarlk. Meet Diasy, an aspiring artist with braces on her teeth who helps Kevin become a beachside fortune-teller. And notice the man in the white suit? Is he the Toad?
Here is Newbery Medalist and former professional magician Sid Fleischman doing what he does best - spinning a tale with style, comic touches, and a double-barreled theme lurking behind the laughter.
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Newbery Award-winning author of The Whipping Boy, Sid Fleischman is surprised that he grew up to be a writer. "I had a childhood much like everyone else's," he writes in his newly published autobiography, The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life. "What went wrong?"
But his childhood was not so typical after all. Born in Brooklyn, he grew up in San Diego during the Great Depression and decided in the fifth grade to become a magician. Just out of high school, he traveled widely in vaudeville and with a midnight ghost-and-goblin show. "I was on the way to becoming a writer. I just didn't know it."
After wartime service with the U.S. Naval Reserve, he finished college and worked as a reporter on the San Diego Daily Journal. When the paper folded in 1950, he turned to fiction writing. One of Fleischman's novels was bought for a major motion picture, and he was offered a contract to write the screenplay.
"My young children led me into writing children's books. They didn't understand what I did for a living. Other fathers, they learned, left home in the morning and returned at the end of the day. I was always around the house. I decided to clear up the mystery and wrote a book just for them." Today he divides his time between writing films and children's books.
Fleischman says that when he knew very little about writing, he wrote very fast. Now it takes him longer: three months to a year to complete a short book, and sometimes much longer if he can't figure out how to get his characters out of the jams he has put them in. "I write my books in the dark. I don't like to know what's going to happen next until I get there. It sustains my interest. I'm anxious to get to my desk each morning to find out what is going to happen."
Fleischman finds ideas lurking everywhere. His novel The Thirteenth Floor began with the superstition that there is something evil and magical in the number thirteen. The Ghost in the Noonday Sun arose from the folk belief that anyone born at the stroke of midnight has the power to see ghosts. The problem for the writer, he says, is not so much in finding an idea as in figuring out what to do with it. That may take years.
As a children's book author Sid Fleischman feels a special obligation to his readers. "The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever -- they have a special impact. Paragraph after paragraph and page after page, the author must deliver his or her best work." With more than 35 books to his credit, some of which have been made into motion pictures, Sid Fleischman can be assured that his work will make a special impact.
Sid Fleischman writes his books at a huge table cluttered with projects: story ideas, library books, research, letters, notes, pens, pencils, and a computer. He lives in an old-fashioned, two-story house full of creaks and character, and enjoys hearing the sound of the nearby Pacific Ocean. He has always lived by the ocean and now lives in Santa Monica, California.From AudioFile:
Is there a connection between the circumstances surrounding the disappearance and presumed death of Mrs. Kidd and the man in the white suit who is stalking her two children? Kevin and Holly flee Albuquerque for Venice Beach, where they take part in a whirlwind adventure, surrounded by a vibrant group of beach performers and opera singers. Sid Fleischman's signature twists and turns bring unlikely characters into the action. This full-cast production heightens the freshness and urgency of the children's quest to carve out a life and to resolve the mystery. Each cast member adds a distinctive voice and personal interpretation--the jealous co-worker, the jaunty landlady, and the opera organizer--as they aid the intrepid duo. A.R. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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Book Description HarperCollins Canada / Other. Library Binding. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear, and the pages have only minimal creases. Bookseller Inventory # G0060519630I3N10
Book Description HarperCollins Canada / Other. Library Binding. Book Condition: Fair. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Bookseller Inventory # G0060519630I5N10
Book Description HarperCollins. Library Binding. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. Very Good copy, cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. Binding may have light creases. Lots of life left in these pages. Bookseller Inventory # 2733191023
Book Description New York, New York, U.S.A.: Greenwillow, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. Hardcover (STATED) First Edition : #LINE 10 9 8 7 6 : Price label on the Dust Jacket : Dust jacket min. edging : Min. edging to boards : Text clean/unmarked : Accelerated Reader RL 3.9 : Written by Newbery Medalist Sid Fleischman. Bookseller Inventory # nFLEISS001
Book Description HarperCollins, 2003. Book Condition: Good. 1st Edition. N/A. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP63919706
Book Description HarperCollins, 2003. Book Condition: Good. 1st Edition. N/A. Ships from Reno, NV. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP87225044