Candace Fleming
Candace Fleming

 Why did I write Clever Jack Takes the Cake? Mostly for fun, but also because I wanted to try my hand at writing a fairy tale. I do that a lot as a writer—challenge myself to try new things—and tackling a fairy tale was definitely a new thing. So how to begin? 

I knew I wanted my story to have a classical feel, incorporating such wonderfully delicious fairy-tale elements as four-and-twenty blackbirds, enchanted forests, and hairy trolls. On the other hand, I wanted it to be totally original, a story like no other. I began writing, and within a few weeks had a tale. But let me tell you a curious truth about writers—they are the stories they write, the fictions they spin. And when I read back what I had written, I realized I had created a fairy tale about . . . me. Weird, but true! The story is filled with my favorite things—journeys and birthdays and cake. The princess, taking after my son Scott, is allergic to strawberries. And Jack? Just like me, he good-naturedly follows life’s road, gathering experiences he can spin into tales.

Spinning experiences into tales is what I did with The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School, too. I visit lots of school, and there’s nothing I like better than talking with kids, watching them in the lunchroom or on the playground, reading their essays and stories, listening to them tell jokes. And all the while I’m doing these things, I’m thinking about how I can use them in a book. Let me give you an example. A few years ago, I was visiting a school in Tennessee when a fifth-grade boy came up to me and said, “Look what I can do.” He stuck out his tongue, crossed his eyes and wiggled his ears – first the left one, and then the right one. I was impressed—but I hadn’t seen anything yet! Within seconds, the rest of the fifth graders surround me. Everyone, it seemed, had some special body trick to show me—double-jointed fingers and toes, eyelids that folded, lips that could be pulled up over noses, knuckles that cracked to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.” It was absurd and wonderful, and I knew I had to write about it. The result? Chapter five titled, “Hyper . . . Um . . . Hypermob . . . Um . . . Weird Body Tricks.”

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Author: Candace Fleming
Release Date: February 11, 2020
From a true master of YA nonfiction, author of the acclaimed THE FAMILY ROMANOV, discover the dark side of Charles Lindbergh in a riveting biography of one of America's most celebrated heroes, and most complicated, troubled men. First human to cross ...
cover_9780593155233
Author: Candace Fleming | Narrator: Malcolm Campbell
Release Date: September 25, 2018
In this hilarious follow-up to BEN FRANKLIN'S IN MY BATHROOM!, history and hijinks collide once more when Eleanor Roosevelt accidentally time travels to a ten-year-old's home in 21st-century America!When Eleanor Roosevelt time travels to Nolan and Ol...
Perfect for anyone fascinated by the Royal Wedding, Netflix's The Crown, or Wolf Hall, this is a pitch-perfect reimagining of the romance and tragedy of Henry VIII and his six wives, told from multiple points of view by some of your favorite authors....
Author: Candace Fleming | Narrator: Malcolm Campbell
Release Date: September 26, 2017
History meets hijinks in this first title in a hilarious new middle grade series for fans of Timmy Failure and The Terrible Two, when Ben Franklin accidentally time travels to a 10-year-old's home in 21st century America!   Nolan is a typical ki...
Author: Candace Fleming | Narrator: Various and Kimberly Farr
Release Date: July 08, 2014
“[A] superb history.... In these thrilling, highly readable pages, we meet Rasputin, the shaggy, lecherous mystic...; we visit the gilded ballrooms of the doomed aristocracy; and we pause in the sickroom of little Alexei, the hemophiliac heir w...
Author: Candace Fleming | Narrator: Various
Release Date: July 10, 2012
"Positively tailor-made for reading—or reading aloud—by flashlight," declares Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. The phenomenally versatile, award-winning author Candace Fleming gives teen and older tween readers ten ghost stories sure t...