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Freak the Mighty
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About the Author

Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick has written more than a dozen novels for young readers. In 1993, he published his first children's book, Freak the Mighty, which became an instant classic, and was made into a feature film. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg was a 2010 Newbery Honor Book. Philbrick's other acclaimed novels include Max the Mighty, The Young Man and the Sea, The Last Book in the Universe, and Zane and the Hurricane. Philbrick divides his time between Maine and the Florida Keys. You can learn more about him on his website: rodmanphilbrick.com.

Reviews

Gr 6-9-A wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, shame, and loss. Large, awkward, learning-disabled Maxwell Kane, whose father is in prison for murdering his mother, and crippled, undersized Kevin are both mocked by their peers; the cruel taunting they endure is all too realistic and believable. The boys establish a friendship-and a partnership. Kevin defends them with his intelligence, while Max is his friend's ``legs,'' affording him a chance to participate in the larger world. Inspired by tales of King Arthur, they become knights fighting for good and true causes. But Kevin's illness progresses, and when he dies, Max is left with the memories of an extraordinary relationship and, perhaps, the insight to think positively about himself and his future. The author writes with empathy, honoring the possibilities of even peripheral characters; Kevin and Max are memorable and luminous. Many YA novels deal with the effects of a friend dying, but this one is somewhat different and very special.-Libby K. White, Schenectady County Public Library, NY

Maxwell Kane, a lumbering eighth grader who describes himself as a ``butthead goon,'' has lived with grandparents Grim and Gram ever since his father was imprisoned for murdering his mother. Mean-spirited schoolmates and special ed (for an undetermined learning disability) haven't improved his self-image, so he is totally unprepared for a friendship with Kevin, aka Freak, a veritable genius with a serious birth defect that's left him in braces and using crutches. Max is uplifted by Freak's imagination and booming confidence, while Freak gets a literal boost--hoisted onto Max's shoulders, he shares Max's mobility. Together they become Freak the Mighty, an invincible duo. Philbrick's first YA novel, already implausible, becomes choked with cliches and stereotypes as Max and Freak mix with B-movie lowlifes, a newly paroled Killer Kane kidnaps his son and Freak himself meets a cloyingly articulated fate. Contrived and unappetizing. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)

Praise for Rodman Philbrick: Freak the Mighty
A School Library Journal Best Book for Young Adults
A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults
A YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
An IRA Young Adults' Choices Book
A winner of: Arizona Young Readers' Award, California Young Reader Medal, Charlotte Award, Golden Sower Award (Nebraska), Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children's Literature (California), Soaring Eagle Book Award (Wyoming)
* "Max's description of their friendship . . . is gritty, unsentimental, sparked with Freak's wry verbal wit and Max's earthier humor, and ultimately poignant. Easily read but compelling: an intriguing and unusual story."-- Kirkus Reviews, starred review The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
A Newbery Honor Book
A Kentucky Bluegrass Award Nominee
An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award Winner
A New York Public Library's "Children's Books" 2009 -- 100 Books for Reading and Sharing
A CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2010
* "The book wouldn't be nearly as much fun without Homer's tall tales, but there are serious moments, too, and the horror of war and injustice of slavery ring clearly above the din of playful exaggerations." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

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