The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life Summary
by Sid Fleischman

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The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life is a fascinating account of how a writer of children's books trained himself to produce the effects that hold his readers' attention. It is a brief autobiography presenting Fleischman as a character as interesting as any the reader will find in his many books, with the same infectious humor that has made him outstanding. As a humorist, he can be compared to Mark Twain, although he does not claim to have ever attained the literary status of America's premier comic writer. Twain's wife would sometimes call her husband "youth." There was always something boyish in the way he looked at life. This quality can be seen in Fleischman as well. His angle of vision brings a fresh way of seeing what goes on around him and an awareness of the absurdities and incongruities of human behavior. In his later years, Twain was obsessed by the flaws he saw in humans. There is none of this acrimony in Fleischman. People amuse him, but he does not feel they are hopeless. An enjoyment of life characterizes everything he has written and is very evident in his autobiography. Early in life Fleischman was determined to be a magician. He describes his progress from his first card tricks to his professional life on the vaudeville circuit. This was during the Great Depression and his tours took him from California to the Midwest and gave him the opportunity of seeing and, equally important, listening to many people. He decided to become a professional writer later in the 1930s and went to college with this aim in mind. During World War II he served in the Pacific Fleet of the U.S. Navy. He and his fellow sailors, officers and all, initially seemed totally inept. They soon learned basic seafaring. Their small, poorly armed vessel, in contrast to the giants of the fleet, was a subject of humor. Once out of the service, Fleischman tried a number of ways of entering the writer's profession. He was a writer of detective fiction , a reporter on two newspapers, and a screenwriter. In all of these the...

(The entire section is 532 words.)