The Invisible Man

Overview

Sy sold fruit. Peaches, plums, pears. And he knew how to cater to his customers: Any ailment they had, Sy could cure it with a piece of fruit.

So what kind of world is it when one day, out of nowhere, Sy becomes invisible? Doctors are baffled; even prunes don't help. Although at first it's fun—sneaking into theaters and onto planes—Sy is soon forced into a life on the run, blamed for everything and anything. It doesn't last long. It couldn't ...

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Overview

Sy sold fruit. Peaches, plums, pears. And he knew how to cater to his customers: Any ailment they had, Sy could cure it with a piece of fruit.

So what kind of world is it when one day, out of nowhere, Sy becomes invisible? Doctors are baffled; even prunes don't help. Although at first it's fun—sneaking into theaters and onto planes—Sy is soon forced into a life on the run, blamed for everything and anything. It doesn't last long. It couldn't last long.

Sy's adventure, full of surprising twists and turns, is a hilarious riff on a favorite story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Unlike the H.G. Wells original, Yorinks's (Homework) whimsical riff on the harassed Wells character is largely played for laughs. Kindly Sy Kravitz, a fruit seller, wakes up one morning to find himself inexplicably invisible. "He was shunned. Ignored. Alone and invisible, his gentle spirit finally snapped." He begins a life of petty crime, and when his secret is discovered, he is blamed worldwide for things he didn't do and is eventually captured, jailed, and "ultimately forgotten." Yorinks's droll text and Cushman's (Tyrannosaurus Math) emotive watercolor cartoons enhance the story's absurd comedy. Cushman solves the problem of how to illustrate an invisible protagonist by portraying Sy with his face wrapped like a mummy or dressed as a disembodied robe or prisoner in stripes. During a later stint as a magician's assistant, a grumpy audience begins pelting Sy with fruit, at which point "it happened. A miracle. Covered in fruit cocktail, Sy Kravitz regain his color" and becomes visible again. An eccentric moral ("Time, and fruit, heals all wounds") does little to explicate the theme (or point) of the story. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Sy Kravitz runs a fruit stand, where he has a suggested fruit cure for any malady. One morning he is surprised to see himself "a little pale" in the mirror. By the next day, he is invisible. No doctor can help him. And he loses his customers, who are suspicious of him in his necessary wrappings. Alone and miserable, Sy snaps. Throwing moral issues of right and wrong aside, he sneaks into theaters, trains, even a cruise. But when he forgets and reveals himself, he is soon blamed for every unexplained evil event in the world. After a jail term, he becomes a magician's assistant. One night, the angry audience throws fruit at the act. Covered in fruit, Sy becomes visible again and can get back in business. "Time, and fruit, heals all wounds." Comic watercolor scenes add verve to the humorous colloquial text. The problems of invisibility are perplexing; Sy must remember what parts of him and his clothing and snacks are visible; but Sy in his polka dot underwear is just funny. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Sy Kravitz is a fruit seller in Brooklyn who becomes invisible. He wraps himself in bandages, but customers grow suspicious: "If there's nothing wrong with his fruit, why is he so ashamed to show his face?" Shunned by the community, he becomes angry and vows to "show them." His misdeeds include sneaking into movie theaters and riding the train for free. He becomes the scapegoat for "every tragedy in life," is wrongfully convicted, and is thrown into jail. After serving his time he works as a magician's assistant. Heckling dieters throw fruit and he suddenly regains his appearance. Cushman's watercolor cartoons show clever disguises to mask Sy's invisibility: scuba diver, brain surgeon, pizza chef. This H. G. Wells take-off includes humorous quips, such as, "Time, and fruit, heals all wounds," but has limited child appeal.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061561481
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/18/2011
  • Pages: 30
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Yorinks is the author of more than two dozen books for children, including the Caldecott Medal winner Hey, Al, illustrated by Richard Egielski. He has also collaborated with Maurice Sendak on several titles, most recently mommy? The founder and artistic director of the yorinks theater group, he lives in New York City.

Doug Cushman is the creator of many favorite mystery stories for young readers featuring such memorable heroes as the intrepid Aunt Eater, the grasshopper gumshoe Inspector Hopper, and the ace reporter Dirk Bones. He has also illustrated many books written by other authors, including Jack Prelutsky's What a Day It Was at School! He lives in Paris, France.

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