Synopses & Reviews
See him? That little tramp twitching a postage stamp of a mustache, politely lifting his bowler hat, and leaning on a bamboo cane with the confidence of a gentleman? A slapstick comedian, he blazed forth as the brightest movie star in the Hollywood heavens.
Everyone knew Charlie—Charlie Chaplin.
When he was five years old he was pulled onstage for the first time, and he didn't step off again for almost three-quarters of a century. Escaping the London slums of his tragic childhood, he took Hollywood like a conquistador with a Cockney accent. With his gift for pantomime in films that had not yet acquired vocal cords, he was soon rubbing elbows with royalty and dining on gold plates in his own Beverly Hills mansion. He was the most famous man on earth—and he was regarded as the funniest.
Still is. . . . He comes to life in these pages. It's an astonishing rags-to-riches saga of an irrepressible kid whose childhood was dealt from the bottom of the deck. Abundantly illustrated.
"Fleischman, who died in March at age 90, left readers with this delightful and informative homage to one of his idols, the silent screen star who went into exile in 1952. 'Chaplin had left town... to take up residence in Switzerland. But his footprints were everywhere.' Those footprints turned 'outward so that each angled off like opposite hands of a clock, at ten past ten,' the duck-footed waddle of the Little Tramp, Chaplin's most famous character. Fleischman fills out the familiar outlines of Chaplin's biography--born to Dickensian poverty in England, he scaled the heights of Hollywood fame--in jocular prose and without sugarcoating. Chaplin's gift for mimicry got him laughs 'without uttering a word,' but he badly misread the tea leaves when 'talkies' arrived, and his egomaniacal methods alienated co-stars, collaborators, and three of his four wives. Like Fleischman's biographies of Twain and Houdini, this book is as good-looking as it is well written, with b&w photographs, vintage newspaper clippings, source notes, and a filmography that should send many in search of the silent film gems that made Chaplin one of America's first movie stars. Ages 9 up. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Since his autobiography, The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life
, was published in 1996, Sid Fleischman has been stealing the spotlight with his exuberant brand of nonfiction. Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World
is Fleischman's fourth true tale, following the widely acclaimed The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West
and the best-selling Escape! The Story of The Great Houdini
Fleischman's books have been made into films, performed as plays, and translated into nineteen languages. The author was awarded the Newbery Medal for The Whipping Boy. His most recent novel is The Dream Stealer.