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Maniac Magee
Contributor(s): Spinelli, Jerry

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ISBN: 0316809063     ISBN-13: 9780316809061
Publisher: Little Brown & Co
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: November 1999
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Annotation: After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee's life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries, in Spinelli's Newbery Medal-winning novel.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Orphans; Fiction.
Sports; Fiction.
Heroes; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Prejudice & Racism
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2004275209
Lexile Measure: 820
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.00" H x 4.75" W x 0.50" (0.35 lbs) 184 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 5075
Reading Level: 4.7   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 5.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q07357
Reading Level: 5.4   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 8.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. And Maniac Magee became a legend. Even today kids talk about how fast he could run; about how he hit an inside-the-park "frog" homer; how no knot, no matter how snarled, would stay that way once he began to untie it. But the thing Maniac Magee is best known for is what he did for the kids from the East Side and those from the West Side.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 1990 May #2)
In this modern-day tall tale, Spinelli ( Dump Days ; Jason and Marceline ) presents a humorous yet poignant look at the issue of race relations, a rare topic for a work aimed at middle readers. Orphaned as an infant, Jerry Magee is reared by his feuding aunt and uncle until he runs away at age eight. He finds his way to Two Mills, Pa., where the legend of ``Maniac'' Magee begins after he scores major upsets against Brian Denehy, the star high school football player, and Little League tough guy, John McNab. In racially divided Two Mills, the Beales, a black family, take Maniac in, but despite his local fame, community pressure forces him out and he returns to living at the zoo. Park groundskeeper Grayson next cares for the boy, but the old man dies and Maniac moves into the squalid home of the McNabs, who are convinced a race war is imminent. After a showdown with his nemesis, Mars Bar, Maniac bridges the gap between the two sides of town and finally finds a home. Full of snappy street-talk cadences, this off-the-wall yarn will give readers of all colors plenty of food for thought. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 1990 June)
Gr 6-10-- Warning: this interesting book is a mythical story about racism. It should not be read as reality. Legend springs up about Jeffrey ``Maniac'' Magee, a white boy who runs faster and hits balls farther than anyone, who lives on his own with amazing grace, and is innocent as to racial affairs. After running away from a loveless home, he encounters several families, in and around Two Mills, a town sharply divided into the black East End and the white West End. Black, feisty Amanda Beale and her family lovingly open their home to Maniac, and tough, smart-talking ``Mars Bar'' Thompson and other characters are all, to varying degrees, full of prejudices and unaware of their own racism. Racial epithets are sprinkled throught the book; Mars Bar calls Maniac ``fishbelly,'' and blacks are described by a white character as being ``today's Indians.'' In the final, disjointed section of the book, Maniac confronts the hatred that perpetuates ignorance by bringing Mars Bar to meet the Pickwells--``the best the West End had to offer.'' In the feel-good ending, Mars and Maniac resolve their differences; Maniac gets a home and there is hope for at least improved racial relations. Unreal? Yes. It's a cop-out for Spinelli to have framed this story as a legend--it frees him from having to make it real, or even possible. Nevertheless, the book will stimulate thinking about racism, and it might help educate those readers who, like so many students, have no first-hand knowledge of people of other races. Pathos and compassion inform a short, relatively easy-to-read story with broad appeal, which suggests that to solve problems of racism, people must first know each other as individuals. --Joel Shoemaker, Tilford Middle School, Vinton, IA Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information.
 
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