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The adventures of a family of magicians traveling across the western deserts and plains in the 1880s.
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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.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
It was a most remarkable sight. Even the hawks and buzzards sleeping in the blue Texas sky awoke in midair to glance down in wonder.
A covered wagon was lurching west along the barren trail to Cactus City, but it was like no other wagon seen in those parts before. To begin with, it was the wrong color. Its canvas was bright red and could be seen for miles. The wheels were painted gold, like a circus wagon, and the horses (if seeing was believing) were as white as swans.
The man driving this most remarkable wagon and these white horses was himself a most remarkable man. He wore a stovepipe hat, as tall as Abe Lincoln's and just as black, and had a smiling red beard even sharper than the letter V. If the hawks and buzzards could have read, they would have seen his name in golden letters a foot high on the sides of the wagon: MR. MYSTERIOUS & COMPANY
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Book Description Joy St Books, 1990. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0316286141
Book Description Joy st Books, 1990. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110316286141
Book Description Joy st Books, 1990. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0316286141
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-0316286141