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Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
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Freak the Mighty (1993)

by Rodman Philbrick

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2,1081133,119 (3.95)53
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This chapter book is suitable as a read aloud for students in grades 4 & 5. Because of its sensitive subjects- disabilities, murder, prison and death, it is not recommended for younger ages. Reading of the text with 4 & 5th graders would be best done as a read aloud. Students engage in the book because of the depth of the characters and the connections that students make with them. The adventures the two characters face keep students on the edge of their seats while being read to. The rich language and its use of context clues by the author make it an excellent book for expanding student vocabulary.
  BethWeber | Feb 7, 2016 |
Everything changes for Maxwell Kane the summer before his 8th grade year when Freak moves in down the street.

Max, who is in the learning disabled class, describes himself as a Butthead who doesn’t have a Brain. Max is a big kid who does his speaking with his fists and his feet. It doesn’t help that he looks like his father, Kenny “Killer” Kane. Since Maxwell’s mother is dead and his father is in jail, he lives in the basement with his Grim and his Gram.

Max is bored, hanging out in his back yard one summer day, when he notices a moving van parked down the street. Soon after, he sees a “weird-looking little dude” about two feet tall with a twisted body, waving his crutches around and yelling at the movers. Max soon discovers that while the boy’s body is crippled his brain is not. He is a genius! When the new kid spots Max, he demands that he identify himself and goes on to shoot him with his crutch saying “die, earthling, die!” So while it doesn’t look like the start of a beautiful friendship, in no time the two are inseparable.

With Kevin riding on Max’s shoulders, the two start having adventures together as Freak the Mighty. They go on a quest to rescue fair maidens and slay dragons. It turns out to be a really cool summer. But not all fairy tales have happy endings.
( )
  MrsBarbarino | Jan 24, 2016 |
I actually prefer Max the Mighty, which is the sequel to this book. This is an at times inspiring book and gives poignant account of book struggling with a terrible disease and his resolve to not let it dampen his spirits. Phillbrick can tell a tale for sure. ( )
  RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
A children’s chapter book I read is Freak The Mighty. I enjoyed this story and would recommend it for many reasons. One reason is because of the characters. I like how one of the characters is called “Freak” throughout the story because it is uncommon for a book to label a character that way. I believe he is very relatable because he was a character that did not fit in, so children can relate to Freak who may feel they do not belong. Another reason I prefer the book is because of the text feature in the back of the book. Freak created a dictionary for his friend in the story, and it is included within the last pages of the chapter. An example is the word boats with Freak’s definition of, “Shoes big enough to fit Max Kane.” The dictionary has several random words with unique definitions created by Freak himself. The message of the story is definitely that friendships can develop when you least expect them and may even be with someone you least expect. In the beginning of the story, Max meets Freak and they are completely different people. However, they end up becoming great friends and help each other in so many great ways. I would recommend this book for fifth to eighth graders and for teachers to use as a read aloud. ( )
  Mroeme1 | Oct 26, 2015 |
I loved Rodman Philbrick's "Freak the Mighty," and I would give it five stars. One aspect of the book that I particularly liked was that Max, the narrator, was a very sympathetic character to whom I found it easy to relate. Max's first-person, conversational narrative was written using language which I can easily imagine a typical 13 or 14-year-old boy using when relating a story to a friend. This conversational language includes asides to the reader like, "does that make any sense?" and exclamations used to convey emotion, such as, "like whoa! talk about laser beams!" Max also uses a variety of humorous descriptive phrases, like when he describes Grim as wearing a "whacked-by-a-hammer grin," and when he says that Mrs. Donelli's sour expression looks "like she stepped in something and she can't get it off her shoe." This type of language made me feel as if Max were actually speaking to me and telling me the story of his friendship with Kevin in his own words. The only difference between Max's language and the language a teenage boy would use in conversation, I found, was that Max uses a close first-person narration, meaning that he is candid about his inner thoughts and emotions. I believe that this form of narration made it even easier for me to connect to Max as a character, as I was able to know much more about him beyond that which he shares with his words and his actions. Another aspect of the book that I liked was the relationship between Max and Kevin. Individually, both boys are vulnerable to bullying and judgement, but together they overcome obstacles as a team, which Kevin names "Freak the Mighty." Max carries Kevin on his shoulders to compensate for Kevin's small size, while Kevin helps Max to realize his academic potential. As a team, the boys go on adventures, or "quests," to distract themselves from the harsh realities of everyday life. With Kevin, Max does not feel stupid because of his learning disability or destined to become a criminal like his murderer father, "Killer Kane." With Max, Kevin does not feel small or limited by his dwarfism and he is able to experience a relatively normal childhood despite knowing that he will die at a young age. While friendship is a central theme in the novel, I found the main message to be more individualistic. The "big idea" of the book is that everyone has the power to choose what kind of life to lead and what kind of person to become regardless of pre-existing labels and assumptions. Kevin teaches Max that he is smart and capable of learning, despite the fact that he was wrongly placed in the "L.D." class years ago. Through his friendship with Kevin, Max realizes that his enormous size and dark family history do not define him, and that he is able to be a gentle and kind person in spite of the fact that his father murdered his mother. With Max's hel, Kevin learns that his size does not have to be a limitation, and that he is capable of making a big difference in the world. Kevin uses his intellect to outsmart Killer Kane, thwarting the murderer's attempt to strangle both Max and Loretta to death. Although he is small, Kevin becomes a hero like King Arthur and Lancelot, whom he deeply admires. In all, I thought that "Freak the Mighty" is a fantastic story that is definitely worth reading. ( )
  lhirsc2 | Oct 25, 2015 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To the real Kevin, and the real Gwen, with love.
First words
I never had a brain until Freak came along and let me borrow his for a while, and that's the truth, the whole truth.
Quotations
So out we go. It's a habit by now, Freak riding up high on my shoulders and using his little feet to steer me if I forget where we're going.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439286069, Paperback)

Two boys – a slow learner stuck in the body of a teenage giant and a tiny Einstein in leg braces – forge a unique friendship when they pair up to create one formidable human force. (Made into the film, The Mighty.) * \u201cA wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, shame, and loss.\u201d – School Library Journal, starred review \u201cCompelling…written with energy and…humor.\u201d – The Bulletin for the Center of Children\u2019s Books

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:18 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

At the beginning of eighth grade, learning disabled Max and his new friend Freak, whose birth defect has affected his body but not his brilliant mind, find that when they combine forces they make a powerful team. An established writer of adult suspense makes a stunning entry into children's literature with this extraordinary novel about two boys--a slow learner too large for his age, and a tiny, crippled genius--who pair up to create on formidable human force.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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