Friday, September 4, 2009

Review: Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle & Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me

Title and Author of book: Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle & Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me
Fiction or non-fiction Fiction
Genre: Children's ages 8-12
Where did I get the book: Roaring Brook Press Thank you for this opportunity!
Challenges that this fulfilled: None-working on my review books

Who recommended this book to me? I was contacted by Nancy Mercado from Roaring Brook Press to see if I would be interested in reading this book for review.

Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending!

"Muscle Man McGinty is a squirrelly runt, a lying snake, and a pitiful excuse for a ten-year old......the problem is that no one knows it but me. In the entire town of Massapequa Park, only I can see him for what he really is. A phony. It's the summer of 1969, and things are not only changing in Tamara's little Long Island town, but in the world. Perhaps Tamara could stand to take one small step toward a bit of compassion and understanding? A terrific debut novel with truly vivid characters and a wonderful voice.

What did you like most about this book? The time period was a favorite element in this book. I love the late 60's and the innocence that seemed to still exist. During the summer all of the neighborhood kids would get all worked when the heard the ice-cream truck coming. They would play endless games of kickball, and have special meetings to decide quarrels. I also really liked Douglas, AKA Muscle Man McGinty. He's a sweet soul who is a foster kid, but all Tamara knows is that her best friend Kebsie doesn't live at the foster home any longer, and now Muscle Man is sleeping in her friend's old room. She doesn't realize why he feels the need to tell whoppers. She's mad at him for all of the wrong reasons and is bound and determined to turn all of the other kids against him. Does she succeed in doing this or does she ultimately come to understand and to accept Douglas as a friend?

Have you read any other books by this author? This is actually Nan Marino's first book. I felt she did a wonderful job of re-creating the excitement of the first moon walk and how everyone in America was sitting around their televisions to watch this historic event. The Vietnam War comes into play during the novel and is dealt with beautifully. She also takes on death and loneliness in a language that kids can understand.

I would highly recommend this book to any parent who is looking for a worthwhile read for their child. As a middle school library lady, I know for sure that this is one book I will adding to our school's collection in the fall. I look forward to what Nan Marino writes next!!


  1. I have seen this reviewed elsewhere....and just the title alone grabs me!!!! I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee what U had to say Staci about this....seems like a GREAT book! :):):):):):):):):):):):)

  2. Perhaps not for me, but this would sure be a great recommendation to someone else :)

  3. When bermudaonion did this review, I wrote in the comment that I loved the name Kebsie (and I loved the book too by the way!) and the author wrote in and said:

    "The name kebsie is a name my 2 best friends and I came up with when we were in our early teens. It’s a combination of our 3 names. Kate, Deb and Nancy."

  4. This sounds like a really interesting, fun read -- I'm fascinated by the "innocence" of the '60s, too, which is when my parents were growing up. I love listening to their stories before Vietnam took my grandfather off to war... he returned home safely, thank goodness, and those are some wild stories, too!

  5. Loved this one too. Brought me right back to my neighborhood in the 60s!

  6. I loved this book for many of the same reasons you did! I was 10 during the summer of 1969 and this book brought back lots of memories.

  7. I've seen this cover around, but didn't realize until your review that it was a kids book! Great review.

  8. The title grabbed my attention. Sounds really enjoyable


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