|Disappearing Act, by Sid Fleischman|
Written by Sid Fleischman
Cover art by Chad Beckerman
Greenwillow Books, 2003
Ages 8 and up
144 pages, 21500 words
Hear that screaming? That's my sister, Holly. It's not exactly screaming. It's singing. She's practicing to be a world-famous opera singer. She thinks people will actually pay to listen to her.
I have to listen because she's driving. We're heading for California in her old VW with about a million miles on it. The only thing holding it together is the green paint. Holly couldn't find Los Angeles without me, Kevin. She gets lost going around the block. Aside from her sense of direction, she's brilliant.
We have to get out of New Mexico. Some guy is stalking her. Us, I mean.
Holly and Kevin are orphans on the run from a mysterious stranger. They try to disappear among the colorful residents living and performing in Venice Beach, California. But a middle-schooler and an opera-loving twenty-one year old are hard to hide, especially when they may hold the key to a lost treasure. Their pursuers are not above murder. It will take all the kids' ingenuity, plus a little help from their friends, to unravel the mystery and get their lives back to normal. As normal as it gets in their eccentric neighborhood.
All of Sid Fleischman's books are brilliant, but I have a fondness for this particular book. I can't tell you why. Normally I am drawn to stories set in the past or something with a bit more magic, but Disappearing Act probably appeals to me because it is so fresh. The voice is spot on. The setting so welcoming. The main characters plucky, pathetic, and likeable. The ludicrous, yet true-to-life characters they meet win your heart. Oh, and it's just plain funny.
1. If you enjoyed Disappearing Act, you can read dozens of other books by Fleischman. The Ghost in the Noonday Sun is my all-time favorite, though not a comedy like this one. Fellow MMGMer, Janet, recommends the classic The Whipping Boy, reminiscent of both The Prince and the Pauper and The Ransom of Red Chief.
|The Ghost in the Noonday Sun, by Fleischman.|
Cover art by Tim Jessell, illustrated by Peter Sis
|The Whipping Boy, by Fleischman.|
Cover art by Dan Andreasen, illustrated by Peter Sis
2. If you love comedy, you can read more about the winners of the Sid Fleischman award for humorous kidlit on the SCBWI website. You may find a few new favorite authors among them.
3. Interested in the man himself? Bookpage posted an interview about The Giant Rat of Sumatra, and Reading Rockets did another amazing interview. View the transcript or watch the video below.
Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!
Check out all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations for October 17, 2016.
MMGM started way back in 2010 by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of Lost Cities. Each week, participating bloggers review our favorite books for ages 8-12. Why not join us?