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Children's Fiction Friendship

Mort Ziff Is Not Dead

by (author) Cary Fagan

Publisher
PRH Canada Young Readers
Initial publish date
Sep 2018
Category
Friendship, Siblings, Humorous Stories
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9780143198475
    Publish Date
    Aug 2017
    List Price
    $18.99
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780143198482
    Publish Date
    Sep 2018
    List Price
    $10.99

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7

Description

A humorous coming-of-age middle-grade novel set in 1960s Florida. Battling obxious siblings, sunburns, and a corporate millionaire, Norman is determined to help an old comedian save his career.

     It's the winter of 1965. Norman Fishbein is enduring not only a cold winter but also the usual torments and annoyances from his two older brothers. When Norman wins a thousand dollars in the "Count-the-Doozy-Dots Contest," his parents let him choose how to spend it, strongly suggesting a new car is what the family needs. But Norman decides what his family really needs is their first vacation that doesn't mean camping in a tent -- a trip to Miami Beach.
     A snowstorm almost wrecks their plans, but in the end Norman gets his first plane ride (with both brothers air-sick on either side of him). Miami strikes him as a paradise -- warm weather, palm trees, beaches, and ocean. They stay in luxury at the Royal Palm Hotel, owned by the mysterious millionaire Herbert Spitzer. 
     One day at the pool, Norman spots an old man in a black suit, who his father tells him is a once-famous comedian named Mort Ziff. (Norman's father thought that Mort Ziff had died years ago.) Holding onto the remains of his career, Mort Ziff is performing every night in the hotel dining room. A chance meeting begins an unusual friendship between Norman and the old comedian. But after hearing that Mort Ziff has been fired, to be replaced by "The Centipedes," a pop group imitating the Beatles, Norman takes matters into his own hands, resolving to save Mort's job and, in the process, coming to realize an innner strength he didn't know he had.

About the author

Cary Fagan is the author of eight previous novels and five books of short stories, including The Student, Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart, and A Bird's Eye. He has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Writers' Trust Fiction Award, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, and has won the Toronto Book Award and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction. He is also an acclaimed writer of books for children, having won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Book Award, a Mr. Christie Silver Medal, the Joan Betty Stuchner—Oy Vey!—Funniest Children's Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People. Fagan's work has been translated into French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan, Turkish, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Korean and Persian. He still lives in his hometown of Toronto.

Cary Fagan's profile page

Awards

  • Winner, The Joan Betty Stuchner - Oy Vey! - Funniest Children's Book Award
  • Short-listed, The Joan Betty Stuchner - Oy Vey! - Funniest Children's Book Award

Editorial Reviews

One of CCBC’S Best Books for Kids & Teens (2018)

"Fagan delivers a witty, heartfelt character study complete with bullying siblings and sweet first crushes. . . . A wonderful read told with elegant simplicity." --Kirkus Reviews
"A quirky, understated, and dryly comedic story . . . Fagan manages to make gold, turning an old fashioned vacation adventure into something more subtle, even graceful. Highly recommended." --CM Magazine
"This delightful story for middle-graders is a great romp through life in the ´60s as its delightful young hero stretches his wings and learns that kindness has many rewards." --Historical Novel Society

Other titles by Cary Fagan