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The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The autobiography of the Newbery award-winning children's author who set out from childhood to be a magician.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 23rd 1998 by HarperTrophy (first published 1996)
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  122 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Scott S
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 pursu ...more
Esther Choi
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
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 ...more
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 w ...more
Lisa Overberg
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
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 ...more
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
An intriguing story onto itself.
Joyce McPherson
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.”
Maddie Bellone
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5-8, eng261, biography
Book about a mans journey to become a magician to a writer. Great for older children.
Albert H
Dec 06, 2015 added it
Shelves: form-ii
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 develo
Mar 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Liam Belnap
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
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).
Delia Turner
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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 m ...more
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 enter ...more
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Greg Badis
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Andd Becker
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Decent middle grade memoir.
Joe Faust
I can't remember a thing about this book to save my life. Must not have been that impressive.
Roger Woods
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: conjuring
An entertaining read by boy magician turned screenwriter and novelist Sid Fleischman
rated it it was ok
Jan 19, 2013
Ben G.
rated it really liked it
Sep 27, 2013
Megan Davis
rated it liked it
Apr 22, 2010
rated it liked it
Mar 29, 2008
rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Sep 12, 2009
Beth Mitchell
Like being told stories by an older relative who tells *really* good stories.

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As a children's book author Sid Fleischman felt 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 almost 60 books to his credit, some of which have been made into motion pictures, Sid Fleischman can be assured that his work will m ...more