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Posts Tagged «Sid Fleischman»

The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West

Friday, November 13th, 2009

trouble beginsby Sid Fleischman.  p. 224  Grades 5-9

Like his famous character Tom Sawyer, Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) sought adventure and often found trouble in his early life.  His experiences in the small town of Hannibal, Missouri on the banks of the Mississippi River, getting lost in a cave and painting a fence, would become Tom’s experiences.  He worked a printing press, became a steamboat captain and took the stagecoach out West to earn his fortune during the Gold Rush. While he eventually struck gold, it wasn’t from digging in the hills.

Connections:  Other books by this author that help illuminate an individual or a time period in history include:  Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini, The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, Jim Ugly, Bandit’s Moon, and The Whipping Boy.

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

enterainerby Sid Fleischman, p. 180  Grades 6-9

The Great Freddie is a washed-up ventriloquist (he can’t speak without moving his lips) living in Europe following WWII until one night in Vienna, Austria he opens the closet in his hotel room and finds a dybbuk or Jewish spirit of a boy (Avrom Amos Poliakov) killed by Nazi soldiers during the war.To repay a debt he owes the boy for an incident that happened during the war, Freddie allows Avrom to possess his body and speak through him for the purpose of tracking down the boy’s killer and becoming a bar mitzvah.In the process, Avrom turns The Great Freddie’s ventriloquism act into a smash success and finds a platform for speaking out about the atrocities against Jews by the Nazis during the war, but Freddie finds himself in some awkward situations with his girlfriend.

Connections:  Some other great fiction titles that illustrate the treatment of Jews during World War II try reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, or Hitler’s Canary by Sandy Toksvig.  Check out this video interview with the author.