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Posted May 4, 2010
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I loved Fleischman's first two biographies for young readers -- about Mark Twain and Harry Houdini. Here he turns his considerable talents to the life of Charlie Chaplin, who most young readers will know nothing about (just the idea of silent film will probably be very, very strange.) I knew only the outlines of his life myself -- born to Dickensian poverty in England, scaled the heights of Hollywood fame -- but Fleischman fills in the mostly sad details. Prodigiously talented, Chaplin suffered from egomania, and badly misread the tea leaves when sound first arrived in his medium. Fleischman's conveys the story in jocular prose. Photographs, newspaper clippings and a reader-friendly design with lots of white space make this an ideal choice for middle school report-writers looking for something different.
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