The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life Info

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The man with the spats rolled up his sleeves and proceeded to
pluck a polished red billiard ball out of thin air. Presto! It
vanished. Abracadabra! It reappeared. It turned white. it blushed red
again. VoiIá! Suddenly there were four billiard balls between this
amazing man's fingers.

I was stunned. All of this was happening
right under my nose. And there was more. He flipped the deck into
falling waterfalls of cards, spun them into fans, and thrust a sword
through a shower of cards to impale the seven of diamonds -- selected a
moment before.

I was dazzled. The moment he finished his act and
ushered us gawkers back onto the sidewalk, I knew what I wanted to be.
Someone else could be president of the United States.

I wanted to
be a magician.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.14

137 Ratings

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Reviews for The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life:

0

Nov 03, 2014

The author’s purpose in The Abracadabra Kid by Sid Fleishman is to show Sid Fleishman’s early life experiences. One can learn a great deal if they stop, listen, and think about what is happening around themselves. If one does not limit themselves, but instead strives for more than what is required, they will be successful. Sid Fleishman stops and thinks about being a magician and then ponders about how he project his talents into writing. He does not limit himself as a magician, he instead The author’s purpose in The Abracadabra Kid by Sid Fleishman is to show Sid Fleishman’s early life experiences. One can learn a great deal if they stop, listen, and think about what is happening around themselves. If one does not limit themselves, but instead strives for more than what is required, they will be successful. Sid Fleishman stops and thinks about being a magician and then ponders about how he project his talents into writing. He does not limit himself as a magician, he instead pursues writing and becomes successful. This book is an autobiography about Sid Fleishman’s early years in life as a magician and an author. This book shows the events made Sid Fleishman the person and author he is today.
I think this is a good book but it was not the book for me. One way this book was ok was at the beginning of each chapter there was a quote of something Sid Fleishman said or got a question about in his early years of life, “If that McBroom story is true, I’m stupid,” (41). The Mcbroom story is a story Sid Fleishman had previously wrote about a young man who cleverly creates a great profit from and unfair deal. I like this because it shows us more about what Sid Fleishman thought in his early years and it adds funniness to the story. Another way it was a good book was it showed how if you work hard enough you can succeed and be successful is illustrated when Sid Fleishman thinks, “I sent the second novel, a Max Brindle sequel, to Phoenix Press and again was offered a $150 advance against the royalties it would surly earn”(123). Sid Fleishman had been working hard and because of it he gained a $150 raise on his first offer. I did not like this book because of its lack of action. I would recommend this book to someone who wants to be a writer, likes books without much action, or someone who likes to see someones life change before their eyes. If you only like books with action and that are fast passed this is not the book for you. ...more
3

Sep 19, 2013

This is the biography of Sid Fleischman. It talks about his life starting from when he was younger, which was when he did not like to read. He pursued becoming a professional magician once in his life. After that, he became a Hollywood screenwriter. Finally, he found what he loves to do: writing. This book is inspiring and easy to read. I liked how it talked about all the different phases of his life when he jumped from one career to another until he found what he really loves to do. It would be This is the biography of Sid Fleischman. It talks about his life starting from when he was younger, which was when he did not like to read. He pursued becoming a professional magician once in his life. After that, he became a Hollywood screenwriter. Finally, he found what he loves to do: writing. This book is inspiring and easy to read. I liked how it talked about all the different phases of his life when he jumped from one career to another until he found what he really loves to do. It would be a good independent reading book for 5th or 6th graders who are inspiring to become writers. It would also be a good book for an autobiography unit and students can read some of the children's books that Sid Fleischman wrote.

Interest Level: Grades 3 - 5
Grade level Equivalent: 5.8
Lexile Measure®: 940L
DRA: Not Available
Guided Reading: X
Genre: Autobiography
Theme/Subject: Writing, Jobs, Careers, Work ...more
5

Sep 04, 2013

The entertaining memoir, The Abracadabra Kid by the distinguished, Newbery-award winning author and screenwriter Sid Fleischman, is highly recommended to readers 7/8th grade and above (the book doesn't contain any mature content, but the reading level is somewhat difficult) to adult. The memoir is long, because it elaborately explains the author's life from birth to present. Also, it contains many facts about Sid Fleischman's ancestors and backgrounds. The Abracadabra kid appeals to audiences The entertaining memoir, The Abracadabra Kid by the distinguished, Newbery-award winning author and screenwriter Sid Fleischman, is highly recommended to readers 7/8th grade and above (the book doesn't contain any mature content, but the reading level is somewhat difficult) to adult. The memoir is long, because it elaborately explains the author's life from birth to present. Also, it contains many facts about Sid Fleischman's ancestors and backgrounds. The Abracadabra kid appeals to audiences who like tales about going on tour to preform in magic shows, panning for gold, or sleeping in a battleship about to be attacked. If you are on the hunt for a good memoir/autobiography which has success stories and humor, one that will keep you busy for a while, or inspire you to become a writer, than look no farther; The Abracadabra Kid is for you. ...more
4

Sep 12, 2013

While Sid Fleischman's earliest passion was magic, he collected mental observations, impressions, and details from his young life for use when he reluctantly began writing as a profession. Straw scarecrows, San Diego's Fifth Street, European tall tales, and expressions like "useless as eating soup with a fork" grew into novels for adults, screenplays, and eventually children's books. He offers excellent advice to young writers: Improvising allows one to begin writing a novel without knowing the While Sid Fleischman's earliest passion was magic, he collected mental observations, impressions, and details from his young life for use when he reluctantly began writing as a profession. Straw scarecrows, San Diego's Fifth Street, European tall tales, and expressions like "useless as eating soup with a fork" grew into novels for adults, screenplays, and eventually children's books. He offers excellent advice to young writers: Improvising allows one to begin writing a novel without knowing the ending (p. 121). Details accumulate over a lifetime, and no detail is unimportant (p. 146). And finally, ". . . the arts take practice . . . In the arts no one is exempt. Writers, too, must practice" (p. 126).

Genre: Autobiography
Reading level: 5.8
Grade level: 3+ (However, I do not think this book would hold the attention of most 3rd graders.)
Lexile: 940L ...more
4

Dec 09, 2016

Fun autobiography with useful information for authors such as “It's the job of the hero or heroine to solve the story problem” and “The main character should be changed by the events of the story.”
4

Dec 07, 2017

Book about a mans journey to become a magician to a writer. Great for older children.
0

Dec 06, 2015

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sid Fleischman's memoir contemplates the process through which he became and Author. Beginning with his grandparent's immigration to the United States, Sid writes of his years as a traveling magic act with Buddy Ryan, as a sailor in World War II, and his persistent struggle to support his family through writing. The success of performance shows that the business of entertaining is needed by everyone, rich and poor, even during times of financial crisis. The author demonstrates the need for Sid Fleischman's memoir contemplates the process through which he became and Author. Beginning with his grandparent's immigration to the United States, Sid writes of his years as a traveling magic act with Buddy Ryan, as a sailor in World War II, and his persistent struggle to support his family through writing. The success of performance shows that the business of entertaining is needed by everyone, rich and poor, even during times of financial crisis. The author demonstrates the need for societies to be amazed, and that entertainment is an expense that even in the Great Depression, people are willing to pay for. The memoir also demonstrates that magic, like writing, requires dedication and practice. After several failed attempts as writing stories, Fleischman actually receives this advice about his writing and believes in passing it on to everyone he can.

Like a magic show, the book became captivating almost at once. Even before Sid is introduces into the world of magic, Sid begins by questioning how he became an author, incentivizing the reader by beginning with a question. Fleischman makes use of interjections frequently in this memoir. As he describes one trick in which a man holds a billiards ball, then: "Presto! It vanished. Abracadabra! It reappeared. It turned white. It blushed red again. Voilà! Suddenly there were four billiard balls"(4). These terms keep the reader excited and help capture the essence of magic tricks. Fleischman's career as a magician during the Great Depression gives a fascinating insight to the way people react to entertainment during times of panic. One such insight occurs as Sid and his friend are drive past a Civilian Conservation Corps, government funded camps providing "healthy outdoor jobs to unemployed teenagers"(47), in the Sierra Nevada on the way to the pier first performance, and they decide to offer some entertainment. "The commanding officer welcomed a morale booster and gladly agreed to our five-dollar fee. Following dinner we put on our hour-and-a half "Glittering Array of Mysteries." After that we never passed up a CCC sign, and we were never turned away"(47). This moment strongly demonstrates the human desire to be intrigued, as the commander paid then even in a time when money and jobs were scarce. As Fleischman wrote: "In those Depression days a loaf of bread was nine cents. Ten dollars was serious money"(34). The author also frequently references how seemingly unimportant details of his life became the basis of characters and plot points in Fleischman's books, in the case of the book Jim Ugly: "Pal was my model for the novel, he became half wolf, arrogant and inscrutable. The See'n Is Believ'n troupe was transformed into an itinerant company that of dramatic actors. Wanda of the ten in one show changed into the sharpshooting Arizona Girl performing a three-act feminist drama"(51). The parallels between several of Fleischman's novels and his memoir leave the reader curious about these novels as well. ...more
4

Sep 20, 2015

I think that children and teens that have experienced and have some awareness of their own emerging creative process will "get" this book on many levels. Plus they will learn history about immigration, journalism, magic, Hollywood, politics and humor. He was one funny guy!
I liked the way that two of his loves, magic and writing, evolved in his life. He talked a lot about his creative process and insight as to how he worked. Personally I am interested in magic, so I enjoyed learning how he I think that children and teens that have experienced and have some awareness of their own emerging creative process will "get" this book on many levels. Plus they will learn history about immigration, journalism, magic, Hollywood, politics and humor. He was one funny guy!
I liked the way that two of his loves, magic and writing, evolved in his life. He talked a lot about his creative process and insight as to how he worked. Personally I am interested in magic, so I enjoyed learning how he developed into a magician and the magicians that impacted his life. I liked reading about the details of his magic tricks and his learning process and how he eventually created his own tricks. He linked the skills needed to be a magician with being similar to those of being a writer. Skills including... being observant of what is around you, ability for problem solving, the power and use of story, and the magic of humor.
It was fun to read how specific events in his life inspired specific books that he wrote. It was also fun to read how he discovered the importance of research and wrote about people and places he knew nothing about by combining research with creativity. The use of humor is a delight.! I found myself laughing aloud as he described his humorous characters and situations later on in the book.

...more
1

Mar 12, 2015

This book is a autobiography by Sid Fleischman, about his life from the start to the near end. He was born during the Great Depression and lived a normal American life going through the ups and downs. As a young boy he was very interested in magic. In fact he read books about magic and he later joined a club to learn more advanced tricks. He then later had a partner and the both of them traveled around the US getting paid descent money. He then later enlisted into WW2 and fought and did various This book is a autobiography by Sid Fleischman, about his life from the start to the near end. He was born during the Great Depression and lived a normal American life going through the ups and downs. As a young boy he was very interested in magic. In fact he read books about magic and he later joined a club to learn more advanced tricks. He then later had a partner and the both of them traveled around the US getting paid descent money. He then later enlisted into WW2 and fought and did various jobs for the army. Sid also wrote many children books and even won award for a few. If you want to find out more about Sid's life read this book to find out more!
Overall, this book had a lot of detail and facts. It wasn't the best book that I have read and I think that the author could have made it a bit more interesting. There were a few things though that I could make connections with that I learned in social studies. I also learned a few new facts!
I would recommend this book to people in grades 7th and above and who potentially like to read about WW2 from a personal point of view. ...more
4

Nov 05, 2015

The Abracadabra Kid by Sid Fleischman is about a person named Sid and he can saw someone in half and put them back together. Suspense is in the book. Fleischman was up on the stage about to saw someone in half with a ribbon and the crowed was waiting excitedly. Also there's characterization. Sid made a big speech to say to a lot of people and he didn't care what to where and he wore a tuxedo, leather shoes, and pants. Last of all the book has foreshadowing. Fleischman saw a girl with a book that The Abracadabra Kid by Sid Fleischman is about a person named Sid and he can saw someone in half and put them back together. Suspense is in the book. Fleischman was up on the stage about to saw someone in half with a ribbon and the crowed was waiting excitedly. Also there's characterization. Sid made a big speech to say to a lot of people and he didn't care what to where and he wore a tuxedo, leather shoes, and pants. Last of all the book has foreshadowing. Fleischman saw a girl with a book that said steps to become a writer and Fleischman thought it was boarding but it was his first step of becoming a author. The Abracadabra Kid is a book for people how like real things that happens and wars, magic acts and other things. Also people would like this book if they like surprises things that just are unexpected. ...more
2

Sep 12, 2012

I read Sid Fleischman's books when I was a girl, and some of his sons in my twenties. I selected this memoir because of its great reviews and hysterical opening. However, the book did not hold true to its fun opening and wit. If you've read his books, it may have been a differnt experience for you. My hat is off for my students who read this from start to end since it was a challenging read for me.

His narrative jumps around a bit, and the common thread of the magician doesn't hold to the end. I I read Sid Fleischman's books when I was a girl, and some of his sons in my twenties. I selected this memoir because of its great reviews and hysterical opening. However, the book did not hold true to its fun opening and wit. If you've read his books, it may have been a differnt experience for you. My hat is off for my students who read this from start to end since it was a challenging read for me.

His narrative jumps around a bit, and the common thread of the magician doesn't hold to the end. I loved his vocabulary choices, but I wonder if my students were able to appreciate his choices. His story was interesting to see how different life was for people in the 1940's, but I will not be selecting this one for memoirs next year. ...more
4

Jun 02, 2016

This autobiography describes in great detail the life events and unique circumstances that lead Sid Fleischman to becoming a Newbery Award winning author! Fleischman grew up in San Diego during the Great Depression. His pursuit to become a professional magician began in the fifth grade. Little did Fleischman know that this lifelong obsession with magic would give him the 'literary tricks' necessary to propel his writing career. I recommend this book for intermediate students (4th-6th grade).
This autobiography describes in great detail the life events and unique circumstances that lead Sid Fleischman to becoming a Newbery Award winning author! Fleischman grew up in San Diego during the Great Depression. His pursuit to become a professional magician began in the fifth grade. Little did Fleischman know that this lifelong obsession with magic would give him the 'literary tricks' necessary to propel his writing career. I recommend this book for intermediate students (4th-6th grade).
Teacher Tip: This book is for everyone especially those students who fall in the uninspired and reluctant writer category! Also, for those who have an interest in magic ;) ...more
4

Jul 21, 2013

A chatty, cheerful autobiography by the author of many good books for kids including THE WHIPPING BOY. I was surprised to learn that he had also written for movies. He makes his knockabout life seem easy and enjoyable, shows how his experiences as a magician, newspaper writer, and screenwriter informed his writing, and gives some excellent advice for would-be fiction writers. The short chapters make this a good "snacking" book, not something I would read in one sitting. He certainly interested A chatty, cheerful autobiography by the author of many good books for kids including THE WHIPPING BOY. I was surprised to learn that he had also written for movies. He makes his knockabout life seem easy and enjoyable, shows how his experiences as a magician, newspaper writer, and screenwriter informed his writing, and gives some excellent advice for would-be fiction writers. The short chapters make this a good "snacking" book, not something I would read in one sitting. He certainly interested me in his writing, and I'm going to have to look up some more of his books. ...more
4

Jul 14, 2014

This was a fun book about how following one's dream can open up surprising opportunities. I enjoyed it as a memoir because it provided colorful local history of California in the years surrounding WWII. Also appealing was how he wrote about his life. Each event was as significant as any other, none more special nor dramatic, and that seems to be his approach on life. Come what may he takes it as it is. However, having the element of magic in his life did make his story more fascinating and This was a fun book about how following one's dream can open up surprising opportunities. I enjoyed it as a memoir because it provided colorful local history of California in the years surrounding WWII. Also appealing was how he wrote about his life. Each event was as significant as any other, none more special nor dramatic, and that seems to be his approach on life. Come what may he takes it as it is. However, having the element of magic in his life did make his story more fascinating and entertaining. The book is definitely motivation to learn a couple of magic parlor tricks for fun. ...more
4

Jan 05, 2017

Fleischman makes narrative and humour as deftly impish and grin-inducing as an abracadabra on stage: his autobio bounces along with the same energy and storyteller's turns as his fiction. Maybe living an authentic life -- learning new curiosities each day -- is exactly what gave him the means to write such good fiction. Life is stranger, after all. Good stories -- Fleischman's life makes a good case for their origin being in living one.
5

Jan 11, 2009

San Diegans will love this, he grew up in Golden Hills and North Park.Wonderful autobiography for kids, he started as a traveling magician, then became Newbery winning author and father of Newbery winnng author...... The book reads like an adventure story he even references the inspiration for McBroom.
4

Nov 03, 2011

i really liked this book it has a lot of different things in it and it was pretty interesting. it showed how is carrer changed from when he was a kid to an adult. as a kid he wanted to be a magigian but ended up on a battle ship in the middle of a war and then wrote children's books. that is why i like this book.
5

Jun 05, 2015

Sid Fleischman’s autobiography is told with the same brevity and wit represented in his novels. How his journey led him from life as a vaudeville magician to one of the most beloved of children’s authors shows how determination, moxie and serendipity can lead at least to a fantastic existence.
5

Nov 06, 2012

The autobiographer reveals how he became a writer of children's books; how he gets ideas for names of characters; and how he organizes research materials.
2

Jun 28, 2011

I can't remember a thing about this book to save my life. Must not have been that impressive.
4

Oct 06, 2015

An entertaining read by boy magician turned screenwriter and novelist Sid Fleischman
0

Dec 31, 2017

Like being told stories by an older relative who tells *really* good stories.

See my review at: https://bethmitchell.rocks/2017/03/08...

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