Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Trouble Begins at 8: Newbery Pick #3 (My Dark Horse Entry)

Admittedly, The Trouble Begins at 8 might be a stretch for the Newbery. Throughout the award's history, fiction has been the big winner. Only a few nonfiction or poetry books have been awarded the big prize (nonfiction fares a little better when you consider the Honor citations). I'll consider it a dark horse, since the Newbery committee has been known to surprise us from time to time.

If you are a fan of Sid Fleischman's Houdini biography, you will love The Trouble Begins at 8. Now, you'd have to work pretty hard to make a biography of Mark Twain boring. Fleischman's trademark wit is absolutely alive in his latest work. I didn't think he'd be able to top The Great Escape, but I'm tempted to say he comes pretty close to it. Even the bibliography is funny!

(Fun fact: Sid Fleischman won the Newbery Medal for The Whipping Boy in 1987, two years before his father, Paul Fleischman, won the Newbery Medal for Joyful Noise. So far, they are the only parent and child to have both won the coveted medal.)

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