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Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
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Maniac Magee (original 1990; edition 1999)

by Jerry Spinelli

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,442175795 (3.97)1 / 93
Showing 1-25 of 175 (next | show all)
Maniac Magee is about a young boy who was orphaned after his parents died during a trolley crash. He runs away from his aunt and uncle, and appears spontaniousley in the city. He soon makes new freinds, and learns how people live on each side of the city: West side, where white kids live, and East side, where blacks live.

I enjoy this book because it talks about how one orphaned boy did soe amazing things and connected both of the sides.I'd reccomend this book to reader of books like El Deafo, and things of that genre ( )
  CalvinG12 | Apr 28, 2016 |
My fourth grade teacher read this book to us - amazing story.
  AZG1001 | Mar 31, 2016 |
I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the book because it showed a white boy trying to bring white and black people together and showing their commonalities but I did not like this book because of the layout of the book. There were three parts of the book and they all were about different families and people he was around. I would have rather had the author blend the book together instead of segmented the book parts. The characters were all very well developed. Every character or family you meet are all described in great detail. For instance, Grayson was an old man that Magee found. He worked at the zoo and we later find out he played on the Minor leagues but never made it to the majors. “Just the Minors. Couldn’t never make it to the Majors” (91). Grayson told Magee all about his life. The book pushes readers to think about the tough issues between white and black people. The students can read and see how it was and how blacks and whites felt about each other back then. When Magee was playing on a hot day in the summer with the family he was staying with, who were black, a black man came up to him and said to him “You got your own kind. It’s how you wanted it. Let’s keep it that way. Now move on. Your kind’s waitin’” (61). The man was not happy about Magee being there. The overall message of this book is to show people that white and black people are similar and can become friends. ( )
  madelinependergast | Mar 21, 2016 |
I would use this book as a read aloud in a fourth or fifth grade class. I would not use this book for younger students because of its length, and it also talks about serious topics such as homelessness and segregation. During this read aloud, I would have students predict what is going to happen to Maniac Magee at different points of the story. I would also have them look for the pattern (finds a family/home, forced to leave). We would then infer how Maniac must feel, and I would have the students use clues from the text to support that. We could also analyze how the characters change throughout the story (Mars Bars, Russel and Piper, etc.).
  TaylorWebb | Mar 2, 2016 |
Read this with the 4th grade class I student taught. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
Read this with the 4th grade class I student taught. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
This was an interesting book to read even though there were parts that were unrealistic and others that were rather brief such as "in a few days he was dead". Otherwise with the messages that it carries I would suggest at least a one-time reading for older students since of its contents but truthfully I think an even more mature audience would get even more out the book since of our actual experiences with life.

Jeffrey, who becomes the legendary Maniac, is basically a child who meets tragedy throughout his younger years. Whoever he seems to love or cares about gets hurt, harassed or dies so the child keeps to himself thus becoming a feral creature just trying to survive where he can. And it is like so many other real people in this situation that he learns to judge people by hearts and not by other "stereotypes".

Maniac is a bit on the unrealistic side and has some issues but I can relate to him having had a rough childhood. I know what it is like to live on the streets and not have a place to call home while when you are least expecting it you will find angels to help out on the path.

This book has so many beautiful messages of living within it that won me over from the unrealistic surroundings and young adult presentation. Definitely a jewel in the rough.... ( )
  flamingrosedrakon | Aug 26, 2015 |
Spinelli's writing entertains me as much as any kid. In fact, it's so good that I assume most of my kids would be turned off by it--he never talks down, never assumes low vocabulary. Magee's character is as lovable as Stargirl, and I wish I could have adopted him myself. Both protagonists leave me motivated to be a better person--if only we could all be so selfless and touch everyone with whom we come into contact with the warmth that they do.


Excellent novel dealing with the "race" issue---oh! I just got it! "Race...."


My son laughed, gasped, worried, and adored while we read this each night--he had a hard time allowing me to stop (he didn't cry as much as I did). Saturday morning, he begged me to crawl into bed and read more for half the morning! ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
Jeffery (Maniac) Magee is orphaned at three and is sent to live with relatives who although they are living in the same house are not speaking to one another. After 8 years, Jeffery had enough and at the age of 12 he runs away and becomes a homeless orphan. He ends up in Twin Mills, a highly segregated town, and through his many talents, manages to help bring the community together. Maniac can run fast - faster than just about anyone and readers are often left wondering if the stories about maniac are real or fiction. Maniac is a child who has had a rough childhood, just trying to find a place to call home.

I think this book is a wonderful option to help students study setting, character and multiple perspectives, especially as it pertains to race and gender. There are also opportunities to encourage students to determine by looking for details and discussing with others which of the stories are true vs. those that may be legend only. I think this would be a good book choice for a literary circle. ( )
  zsvandyk | Jun 6, 2015 |
Read my review of the audiobook version of this 1991 Newbery Medalist at http://newberryproject.blogspot.com/2008/11/maniac-magee-1991.html. The strong setting, descriptions, and characters make up for any incredulity in the plot.
  rdg301library | May 24, 2015 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book about a young orphan who runs away from his adoptive family (a reasonable response to their care for him) and hooks up with different families who embrace him. It has lots to say about racism, varieties of child abuse that might not be apparent to many, and families. Jeffrey Magee is a very caring young man and I really enjoyed his adventures and quest for a real home. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Apr 13, 2015 |
This is a fun and engaging story. ( )
  RBeene | Mar 17, 2015 |
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Reading Level: 9-13

Themes: Family, Sense of belonging, Racism
  cteets93 | Dec 8, 2014 |
Maniac Magee is about a young orphaned boy who runs away from his aunt and uncle's home. He becomes a legend because he keeps running. In the small town of Hector, Philadelphia he becomes myth because of all his amazing features. Maniac meets a lot of interesting people, on both sides of town. Once he has settled down. He has made a significant amount of change to the once racially divided town.

I remember reading Maniac Magee as a child, so it was only right to reread one of favorite book again.

Classroom Extension
1. I would have the kids create a short story on what they would have down when they ran away.
2. I would have the draw posters of the famous maniac Magee.
  theresa.moultrie | Nov 21, 2014 |
(5.4)
  mrsforrest | Oct 15, 2014 |
Great book. Interesting plot and real. Enjoyed it very much and would recommend to my young readers grades 3 - 6. ( )
  MichelleUnger | Oct 14, 2014 |
Summary: This book follows the story of Jeffrey Lionel Magee, a.k.a. Maniac Magee, a young orphaned boy who runs away from his aunt and uncle's house, and just keeps running until he becomes a legend. His amazing feats make him a myth in the small town of Hector, Pennsylvania. Maniac meets a number of very interesting people, on both sides of town, and by the time he finally settles down, he has managed to effect a significant amount of change on the racially divided town.

Review: I loved reading this book...Maniac is just such an awesome kid. He sticks to his own idea of what is right and wrong, and is so fearless and adventurous in a way I only am in my wildest daydreams. Eleven-year-old Maniac is such a winning protagonist, and his adventures are just so out there that you can't help but read this book beginning to end, wishing there were more pages after the last one. I love that Maniac manages to cross the racial divide of the town, and that this one little eleven-year-old boy can positively impact so many people's lives. An excellent book from start to finish.

Central Idea of Maniac Magee: Legends all have a basis in fact, and people become legends by positively impacting the lives of a large number of people. ( )
  jlampr1 | Sep 16, 2014 |
Jeffrey Magee is living a normal life until his parents are killed in a trolley accident when he's three. So he is sent to go live with Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan. Uncle Dan and Aunt Dot are strict Catholics who hate each other. Maniac grows up in a bad house hold, he isnt loved and he is usually quiet. When he is 11 yrs. old finally had enough, and takes off running, literally. He runs for miles and miles a year, and ends up in Two Mills, Pennsylvania.

Two Mills is a divided town. The East and the West End are separated by Hector Street. Maniac's first stop is the East End, where he meets Amanda she owns a suitcase of books. Maniac goes from the East and West End over and over again, making a few friends, but mostly enemies. Maniac dosent relize that the West End is entirely Cacuasion and the East End is entirely Aferican American. love this book because its about a boy who is running away and has to take care of him self, which I would never be abel to do. And this is my review on Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. ( )
  sydney.b1 | May 20, 2014 |
This book just didn't do it for me. I loved "Stargirl," so when I saw this was Spinelli's Newberry Medal winner I had high expectations, but it just seemed odd somehow. I think the characters were so broadly written that they weren't interesting to me. I appreciated the message about race, of course, but there are surely better books about this subject... ( )
  BrianEJanssen | Apr 27, 2014 |
Maniac Magee follows the story of an orphaned boy looking for a home in the town of Two Mills. He becomes a local legend for his amazing athletic feats and for confronting the racism that sharply divides the town. ( )
  WizardsofWorch | Apr 22, 2014 |
I loved this book. My teacher read it to me in fifth grade, and I was hooked from the beginning. After reading it again, I love it even more. My favorite thing about the book is the language. The majority of this book is written with the use of figurative language. The book begins, “They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring.” Looking at this very first page, I can see three more examples of figurative language, and it makes the story very unique. Even though this book is written with a lot of exaggeration and includes events that could never happen, it pushes readers to think about racism. In this book, the town is divided into the East End (blacks) and the West End (whites). Maniac Magee is oblivious to this separation, and continues to go back and forth. Not only does Maniac Magee push the readers to think about this issue that once occurred, he also pushes the characters to think about the issue. The central message of this book is that the color of your skin has nothing to do with the kind of person you are. ( )
  kjacks26 | Mar 17, 2014 |
Maniac Magee explores the racial boundaries that are broken with the help of Maniac Magee. This book teaches a lesson on friendship and learning to accept others no matter how they look.
  Laaaron | Dec 10, 2013 |
I had to read this book for one of my classes and I didn't enjoy it as much as the other students. It was a little boring to me but there were some interesting parts like when he intercepted a football pass, or hit homeruns off a great athlete's fast ball, etc. He earned the nickname "maniac" because of all the crazy things he can do. So there are some parts of the book that I like, but also some that I didn't. It's a good read for students if they want to read about all the insane things Magee does.
  khanai | Dec 9, 2013 |
Jeffrey Lionel Magee is living a normal life until his parents are killed in a tragic trolley accident when he's three. He's sent to live with his Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan, and, despite Dot's sporty name, it's not a fun household. Uncle Dan and Aunt Dot are strict Catholics who hate each other, meaning Maniac grows up in a loveless, largely silent house. When he's 11-years-old, he's finally had enough, and takes off running. Yup, literally running. He runs for a couple hundred miles and a year, and ends up in Two Mills, Pennsylvania.
  ginamaria14 | Dec 9, 2013 |
Maniac Magee tells of a boy who lives on his one and the crazy situations he gets stuck in. He also doesn't understand the racial differences that occur in this world. He shows throughout the book that everyone is equal and how to see past these nonsense rules that dictate who is entitled to certain things. ( )
  rcsmart12 | Dec 6, 2013 |
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