Three cheers and an A-men for Maniac Magee!
Maniac Magee is like a story told through an imaginative child on the playground at recess, where exaggeration and fantasy are just as important as any truths. Spinelli’s clever, funny and creative approach to dealing with such staggering issues as death, homelessness and racism, is to be applauded. The clear message is that ignorance breeds hate, and if we could just get to know one another and put aside our fears, things could be very different in our world divided.
It is through the talented, compassionate and fearless Jeffrey ‘Maniac’ Magee that the gap between the East and West ends of the city of Two Mills, finally comes together. Maniac unwittingly spends most of his time teaching people from both sides about one another, thus helping to break down the fear of the unknown. This orphan also has the fortune of coming across many kind-hearted people in his travels, from both neighbourhoods, and it is through them that he learns about love and what it means to be a part of a family.
It is such witty creations as a tricycle biker gang named ‘Heck’s Angels’, and a young girl who takes all of her books with her to school in a suitcase every day, so her younger siblings won’t crayon all their pages, that make this a rather entertaining read.