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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
5,173170866 (3.97)1 / 85
Showing 1-25 of 170 (next | show all)
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 |
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 | Feb 1, 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)
  mshampson | 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 |
I found this to be sort of an odd book. I had originally read bits and pieces of this book to some of my campers when I had worked it at a summer camp. I think I actually liked it better not having read the whole book. The main theme of the book was to portray the lack of differences between color in skin.

This book is written in the style of tall tales, as Maniac McGee has a variety of skills. He spends the book trying to find a family that wants him. While I feel the jumping around a lot can be beleivable, there was no real spark to this,. book throughout the story. While he was not like most kids, which sends a positive message towards the loners. I just feel like there was not real point to the book. I personally would have enjoyed more substance.to his random competitive behavior. I would have liked to know more of the impact it had on him personally.

I felt that the characters were uneven as well. While I liked Amanda, and Jeffery, there seemed to be holes in description. I felt I wanted to know more about the characters and there was a lot to be desired. For example, I wanted to know more about why Maniac did not want to go to school, and yet forced others to go. I also wanted to know more of why Amanda felt the need to kick Maniac out. Also, I just did not feel too emotionally attached to any of the characters either.

I did like the sense of adventure and the desire for community though. I would have liked to have less focus on a variety of characters that did not seem to be driving forces of the story. ( )
  larasimmons2 | Nov 24, 2013 |
effrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.
Amazon.com review ( )
  ntaha | Jun 18, 2013 |
I can see older children loving this book. Maniac Magee is a simple honest character just trying to get through life. He doesn't judge people, but he is often judged. His special baseball throw at the end of the story was great. ( )
  nancysauve | Jun 18, 2013 |
This is a cute story about Maniac Magee. I got to sit through a middle school class while they read this book. Its different when you see it from a teaching perspective then reading for pleasure but I think the kids liked the book. Its a fast read (for some) and well I think the story is good. ( )
  avidreaderlisa | Jun 1, 2013 |
I recommend this book to some of my more reluctant readers, and (often) they enjoy it. Not only is this a fun adventure story, but his book is a positive example of how even one young person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. Maniac doesn't have much of a support system, but he still is able to be a uniting force in his community. ( )
  YvetteKolstad | Apr 30, 2013 |
Family Life
Individuality
Prejudice and Tolerance Experiences ( )
  LeaMae | Mar 16, 2013 |
I did not personally enjoy this book, but it has some good messages. It has kind of an outdated feel to it. ("Butterscotch krimpets" etc.) I was surprised to learn that the book was published in 1999 because of this. The novel follows the story of Jeffery Magee, an orphan who wanders into a segregated town where skin color means everything. However, Jeffery is too naive and innocent to judge people based on race. Jeffery becomes known in both sides of town as Maniac Magee for amazing feats. He is not the typical kid his age, Jeffery is responsible and loves to wake up early, do the dishes, and run. Eventually this lost orphan finds a family, and an address. ( )
  hreilly | Feb 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-25 of 170 (next | show all)

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