Thursday, March 27, 2008

BOOK: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Newbery Winner 1991, young adult challenge

I borrowed this from the library for my son, but he wasn't interested. I decided to read it since it was a Newbery winner and it was really good. When it got to one of the chapters behind the legend of Maniac Magee, I read it aloud since it was describing a baseball game, and my son is now into baseball mode, tossing the ball all the time, in the living room. I read a few paragraphs, and he was on baited breath, listening. I stopped after a few paragraphs, but he wanted more. I read the whole chapter, and I passed it on to him as I finished the book. Whew, sometimes it takes quite a bit of work to interest a child in a good book.

This book is part folklore, of the legend of Maniac Magee, part modern, as Maniac lives on the street, with no home, and part awareness, as race relations are one of the by products of Maniac's adventures. I loved the fable aspect of the story; the legend of Maniac will obviously have some exaggerations as all fables do, but the truth is in there, is you look. Maniac lives on the fringes of the town, and yet he touches many of the residents.

I laughed, I cried, I really liked this little book.


  1. I think this is the one I should've tried by him instead of Who Put That Hair In My Toothbrush? Thanks for the review.

  2. Oh! I wish I had seen this post earlier (or that you read and reviewed your book earlier *snickers*). I had such a difficult time finding a folklore/tale book for the Once Upon a Time II. Seems like everything I was finding was really myth-based (which I guess is sometimes how it goes). Sounds fun!

  3. I may have to give this one a try. I really like Stargirl, but haven't read anything else by Spinelli.

  4. bybee - this was my first Spinelli and I was impressed

    trish - it starts with a skipping rhyme, and then goes back and explains where the legend of Maniac Magee came from. I guess it is folklore, since it is set in modern times, it seems like it wouldn't be folklore, but it is. Not fantasy like, just legend.

    les - I want to try Stargirl as well. I don't imagine I'll be able to convince my son to read Stargirl, with girl right there in the title.

  5. With all the Newbery books I've read I have read this one yet. Surely there will be a new challenge coming up soon so I can add this one to that list.

    BTW, I finished Yellowknife. Wish we could get together and discuss it. I liked it but felt very confused at times.

  6. All three of my kids loved this book when they were young, even my non-reader son. It really is a fun one!


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