SIR CHARLIE: CHAPLIN, THE FUNNIEST MAN IN THE WORLD by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow, June 2010) is a reminder of the incredible talent of the late Sid Fleischman. His sill at making readers care about the subject of a biography is not be believed. It has to be experienced firsthand. In this loving tribute to the Little Tramp, Chaplin proves once again his mettle in this genre. He takes readers back to Charlie's childhood, a miserable existence in the squalor of London. His father was largely missing from his life, and his mother often had to be institutionalized for mental problems. Charlie and his brother managed somehow to survive thanks largely to Charlie's gift of mimicry. Eventually, Charlie came to the US and began making silent movies. It was there, of course, that he found his fame and fortune. Fleischman was obviously a fan of Chaplin's work, and that admiration comes through in every page, each description. I think it will also transfer to readers who may or may not know of Chaplin's brilliance in the era of the silent screen.
Photographs, timeline, bibliography: all of the extras one has come to expect in a great biography are here. Add to the feast, short chapters and a brisk narrative, and we have a perfect example of how biography combines the best elements of fiction and nonfiction.
I know the book left me hankering for a Chaplin movie marathon.