Sid Fleischman The Scarebird

ISBN 13: 9780688131050

The Scarebird

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9780688131050: The Scarebird
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Lonesome John lives on a farm in the country, so deep in the country that the "crows pack a lunch before setting out." When he places a scarecrow in one of his fields, he quickly grows attached to the figure. It is his only company. Then, a homeless, young farmhand happens along and asks for a job. Soon, the farmer has something much more precious than any scarecrow: He has a friend.

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About the Author:

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 School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4 Spacious pictures executed in paint and drawing portray the broad horizons and big skies of a farm so far out ``that crows pack a lunch before setting out.'' Lonesome John, a farmer whose family is gone and whose old dog is buried in the pasture, builds a headless scarecrow for his cornfield. Soon his need for companionship causes him to add a head, to talk to his ``Scarebird,'' and share harmonica music in the evenings. By the time Sam, a weary-looking orphan, arrives, looking for work, John has begun to play checkers with his creation. Although he resents having his game interrupted, he offers hospitality and some short-term work so the youth can repay him. As the touchingly hopeful-looking boy begins to work, John retrieves for Sam, piece by piece, the protective clothing that he had given to the scarecrow. By the end of the book, John is ready to accept a real-life companion in place of an imaginary one. The civility with which he treats the scarecrow as he takes back his clothing makes readers know that the new relationship will prosper and enrich both the old man and the boy. Sis' art captures the human need for connection in a gentle way. An appealing picture book about loneliness and friendship, told in Fleischman's typical colorful language, that will work well as a read aloud or for independent reading. Marilyn Iarusso, New York Public Library
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780688073176: The Scarebird

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ISBN 10:  0688073174 ISBN 13:  9780688073176
Publisher: Greenwillow, 1988
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