My First Review of 2013! Maniac Magee By Jerry Spinelli

maniacManiac Magee

By Jerry Spinelli

180 pages – ages 9+

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on November 1, 1999

Jeffrey Magee hated living with his aunt and uncle who hated each other, but he had no choice because his parents died in a trolley accident and he was an orphan. After putting up with his aunt and uncle for years, Jeffrey finally snaps and runs… and runs… and runs. He runs away and keeps running. He ends up in Two Mills, Pennsylvania. Jeffrey soon gets a reputation of being that “Maniac” kid because he is so fast no one can beat him and he is an expert at all kinds of sports. Jeffrey is homeless and wants more than anything to have a home and a family. He meets a girl, Amanda Beale and they become friends. The Beales know that Jeffrey doesn’t have a home and they asks him to come and stay with their family. Jeffrey is happy with the Beales and they like having him as part of their family but not everyone in this part of Two Mills was happy Jeffrey was there. You see, Jeffrey is white and the Beales are black and the East side of Two Mills is where black people live. Jeffrey didn’t understand why someone would not like him just because he was not black. The Beales didn’t care and they treated Jeffrey like their own family, but some of the East-siders chase him away. Maniac continues to run from place to place in and out of Two Mills trying to find a place to call home and a family of his own. Will he ever realize where his true home is?

This is a moving book about racism. It teaches that racism is something taught. Jeffrey didn’t think about the different colors of people. He never knew that white and black people could not like each other because of the way they looked. I really love how  Mr. Spinelli has Jeffrey describes black people’s skin;

he couldn’t figure why these East Enders called themselves black. He kept looking and looking, and the colors he found were gingersnap and light fudge and dark fudge and acorn and butter rum and cinnamon and burnt orange. But never licorice, which, to him, was real black.”

Mr. Spinelli mixed the right amount of humor with an awesome story that not only kept me reading but also gave an important message about a tough subject. I loved reading about the feats that Maniac did in the book (the scene where he hits an in-the-park home run with a frog as the ball is hysterical…Oh and the frog was not hurt). I like how he was a good big brother to the Beale’s kids. This is just an awesome book! I can see why this book won the 1991 Newbery Medal!

Five out of five bookworms for Maniac Magee! fivebooks

To learn more about Mr. Spinelli and his other great books, please visit his website by clicking HERE!

Categories: Age 9+, Other Stuff Related to Books and Reading

Tags: , , , , , , ,

38 replies

  1. Awesome review for what looks like an awesome book. P.s. Thank you for all your support for my blog during the past year. Happy new Year Erik!

  2. I love this book! And your review fully did it justice.

  3. One of the teachers I visit regularly uses this book in her class every year. It is a powerful story. This is a very nice review. Thanks.

  4. Really enjoyed your review Erik! Sounds like a powerful read — kind of a reverse story on racism.

  5. You managed to create a very nice review, Erik. Mr. Spinelli is one of my favorite authors because of his ability to write about tough subjects and still keep us from feeling like the world is hopeless. Maniac McGee is one of my favorites, but I hope you’ll keep reading his works. He’s truly amazing.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful book with a wonderful message. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Erik! I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Paul R. Hewlett

  7. I read this book a while ago, and loved it! Nice choice, Erik.

  8. This is one of my top ten favorite MG books of all time, Erik! It has everything you want in a novel. An almost-mythical hero, a huge conflict, and gorgeous gorgeous language. We can all learn a lot from Maniac Magee.

  9. This book sounds absolutely heartwarming. Reminds me of Blind Side in some ways. I can see this as one that should be read in classes all over the country.

  10. I’ve seen this title, but never realized what an amazing book with an amazing message was behind the title. I think I must read this. Thanks, Erik!

  11. Sounds like a great book that every child should read. You did a fab job of reviewing it. Happy New Year Erik!

  12. I love this book! It had a great message. Good review too!

  13. You know I’ve heard about this book for years and years and never read it. Great review. You have me interested!

  14. If you would like, come and join the Guy Friday group over at my blog. I’m trying to get more people to read and review books that boys would like, but it’s always best to have links to reviews by ACTUAL guys!

  15. What a fantastic review! I love Mr. Spinelli’s work! This is one of my favorite books of his. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts- you made me want to go back and reread this one!

  16. I love Maniac Magee! Another Spinelli book that I really like is There’s A Girl In My Hammerlock.

  17. I have to make a confession. I have this in my shelves for the longest time but haven’t read it yet. maybe this year? thanks for reminding me about this book, Erik.

  18. I like Maniac Maggee

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: