Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Philbrick, Rodman
New York: Blue Sky Press, 1993
IL 5-8, RL 6.3
ISBN  059047412X

(3 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Maybe you’ve had times in your life where you felt like you didn’t fit it.  Maybe you’ve felt like a misfit, or even a freak.  This is the story of two misfits, and their unusual friendship.  First, there’s Max Kane, an 8th grade  giant of a kid, who is learning disabled and convinced that he has no brain.  He lives with his grandparents since his mom is dead and his dad’s in prison.  Second, there’s Kevin Avery, or as Max calls him--Freak.  He’s an 8th grader too, with a severe growth problem.  He’s a little dude, only about two feet tall with crutches and a brain like Einstein.  He knows everything there is to know about technology, Star Trek, and King Arthur.  Anyway, when Freak moves  into Max’s neighborhood, the two boys greet each other. . .sort of.  Most people might say something like, “Hello!” or “My name is Kevin, what’s yours?”,  but not Freak.  When he spots Max staring at the movers, Kevin says, “Identify yourself, earthling, or suffer the consequences.”  Max is like, what?  He thinks this is one weird kid.  It’s a strange beginning for a friendship, but somehow it works.  When these two misfits join forces, they become “Freak the Mighty”!  With Kevin riding around on Max’s shoulders, they can use Freak’s brain and Max’s brawn to create a force to be reckoned with!  Like King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, they will protect the weak, rescue fair maidens, and battle evil forces, including secrets from Max's past.  (Lisa Barkhurst, Youth Services Librarian, Woodmont Library, King County Library System,

Booktalk #2

Maxwell Kane is a young man with a learning disorder.  He lives with his grandmother and grandfather, otherwise known as Grim and Gram.  His father, Kenny Kane, is in prison for murdering his mother when he was 4 years old.  He is a loner and many of the other kids make fun of him.  He first saw Kevin in preschool.  He remembered him because he had crutches and shiny metal braces on his legs that Max thought were cool.  The next time he saw Kevin, known as Freak, he was moving in next door.  Kevin Avery is a young man with disabilities.  His body is small but he is extraordinarily smart.  His mother, Gwen, is raising Kevin by herself.  Kevin’s father left when he was a baby.  Kevin and Max become great friends.  Kevin is always telling Max stories and sometimes uses words that Max doesn’t know, but Kevin doesn’t mind explaining them to Max.  Max sets Kevin on his shoulders and they walk around going on adventures.  Kevin comes up with a name for them, Freak the Mighty.    When Max is kidnapped by his father, Kevin rescues him and Max’s dad is put back into prison.  When Kevin turns thirteen, he is hospitalized.  He has told Max that he is being fitted for a special robotic body so that Max doesn’t know that the worst is coming.  Max goes to the hospital and Kevin gives him a book to write down their adventures they’ve shared.  Max sneaks out of his house to visit Kevin, as he is not allowed to see anyone.  When Max arrives, he learns that Kevin has died.  Kevin’s doctor explains to Max what was really wrong with Kevin.  (Shannon Cyrus, Student of ACTC)

Booktalk #3

Do you have a friend that is very close who only has a few years to live? If you do then you maybe can relate to this book Freak the Mighty, written by Rodman Philbrick. In this book there are two boys that do everything together in their small town, They play games, go on expeditions with knight and dragons, and play tricks on each other. The two boys, call themselves "Freak the Mighty."  If you want to find out more about why they call themselves that, and about what they do, then you should read this book Freak the Mighty.  (Dirk, student)

SUBJECTS:     Learning disabilities -- Fiction.
                        Physically handicapped -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.


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