DISAPPEARING ACT by Sid Fleischman

DISAPPEARING ACT

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A brother and sister on the run find refuge and rescue among the eclectic and eccentric characters of Venice Beach. Kevin is 12, his sister Holly, 21, and their archaeologist mother has recently died in an earthquake while on a dig in Mexico. Shortly after her death, a mysterious predator they nickname the Toad begins to stalk them, precipitating their sudden and secretive move from New Mexico to Southern California. They rename themselves “Gomez,” and Kevin (as “Pepe”) turns his energies to making a living with the busking community on the beach, while Holly (as “Chickadee”) gets a role as Mimi in a beachfront production of La Bohème—when the Toad shows up and threatens everything. The real treasure of this fast-paced narrative is the colorful assemblage of secondary characters, from Bumpy, the med-student-cum-watermelon-juggler, through Mrs. Niederhauser, the living Statue of Liberty, to their landlady, a career movie extra named Miss Fiesta Foote. Fleischman (Bo and Mzzz Mad, 2001, etc.) serves up an agreeable stew, flavored with heaps of coincidence and goodwill, and laced with a hearty dose of disregard for reality. Kevin and Holly, despite their almost total lack of resources, never lose heart, nor even think about such dreary things as school. This attitude is entirely in keeping with the other-dimensional feeling of Venice Beach and keeps the reader’s attention focused on the plot, which leaps about good-naturedly and wraps up happily for all. Realistic fiction it’s not, but good, quick, and smart fun—definitely. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-051962-2
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2003




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