Maniac Magee

Written by Jerry Spinelli

Reviewed by Tanner S. (age 10)

In usual situations, young orphans go to live with foster parents or go to live with family, but in Jerry Spinelli's "Maniac Magee", the young boy, Magee, is an orphan who has no one. He's all alone in the world. After leaving his cold hearted aunt and uncle, Maniac begins his search for a family. At first he finds himself in a neighborhood like many others in our country. It is divided into two sections because of segregation. Maniac believes that segregation is nonsense. Maniac enters the African-American side of houses where he meets Amanda, who is on her way to school. Maniac enjoys the company of Amanda and her one brother and one sister, Hester and Lester. Mrs. Beale, their mother, loves Maniac and enjoys how neat Maniac really is and how much he helps around the house. Things with the Beales are going well until one day when Maniac is insulted by some kids who belong to a gang. He feels that he has to leaves Amanda's house so he doesn't put his friends in danger. Once again he's on his own struggling to survive, wanting nothing more than to be loved. Finally, he meets a man named Grayson who is the caretaker of the zoo. The caretaker lives in a sports locker room. He allows Maniac to stay with him,and as seasons pass, they develope a strong friendship. All that changes on Christmas day when Maniac discovers something that will break his heart. Read the book to find out more.

I enjoyed this book because of all the excitement that is packed into it, including when Maniac runs away from the Beales. This book is very unique because it goes back in time and teaches us a great moral about loving all kinds of people and being part of a family. My absolute favorite part is when Maniac unties the knot at Cobble's Corner! It is my favorite because it brings people together. This reminds me of another book I've read called the "Series Of Unfortunate Events". It is about the Baudelaire orphans and how they are always going through bad times.

I recommend this book because it teaches great morals, and because it has a lot of really fun twists and turns. I think the people who like plain-out adventure and edge-of-your seat excitement would like this book.

Tanner S. is a student in Ms. Gibbs' 4th Grade through 5th Grade Class
2002-2003