2Previewing Maniac Magee Read the title, the author, and look at the illustration on the cover.What do you think the book will be about?Where and when do you think it takes place?Have you ever read any other books by the same author?
3HomelessnessManiac Magee focuses on homelessness, one of today’s most important social problems.Is there such a problem in your community?What is being done to deal with the problem?
4Group discussion on homelessness Here are statements one often hears about homeless people. Read each statement and decide if it is true or false. Then check your answers by going to the web site.Homeless people want to be homeless.It is their own fault that they are homeless.Homeless people don’t want to work.Homeless people are mentally ill.Homeless people are dangerous.
5Brainstorming Discuss the difference between a house and a home. Does a home need to have four walls and a roof?Can a place have four walls and a roof and still be missing other qualities that would make it a home?
6Before the Story Who are “They” in the opening sentence of the book? What evidence is there that Maniac Magee has become a legend?In the last sentence of this prologue, the author warns readers “not to let the facts get mixed up with the truth.” What is the difference between the facts and the truth?What parts of the Maniac Magee legend do you think are true and what parts do you think are fiction?What do you think the author meant when he said, “the history of a kid is one part fact, two parts legend, and three parts snowball”?Why do you think the author included this short section called “Before the Story” before Part I of the book?
7Similes and MetaphorsSimiles compare two unlike things using the words like or as.Metaphors compare two unlike things by saying that one thing is another thing.
8Examples from Maniac Magee They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring.Metaphors or similes?What is being compared?The book came flapping like a wounded duck and fell at Jeffrey’s feet.Metaphor or simile?
9A couple of people truly remember, and here’s what they saw: a scraggly little kid jogging toward them, the soles of both sneakers hanging by their hinges and flopping open like dog’s tongue each time they came up from the pavement.Metaphor or simile?What is being compared?
10Questions for discussion Chap. 1-3 In what ways did Maniac reveal his innocence? Will this quality help him or hurt him in his quest for an independent life?Why do you think the author had Maniac read the story of the Children’s Crusade?
11Homework questions Chap. 1-3 How did Maniac become an orphan?Why did life become unbearable for Maniac with Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan?Why did Maniac make a spectacle of himself on the night of the concert? Why did the author refer to this occasion as “the birth scream of a legend”?
12Continue questions Chap. 1-3 According to the legend, why was Maniac’s eleventh year referred to as “The Lost Year”?Why did Maniac think he had something in common with Amanda when he first saw her on the street? What was his mistake?Why was Amanda disturbed by Maniac’s presence in the East End of Two Mills.
13Discussion question Chap. 4-8 Do you think Jeffrey’s nickname was appropriate?Do you think another nickname would have been better?
14Homework questions Chap. 4-8 What was remarkable about each of Jeffrey’s appearances on his first day in Two Mills?Why were Finsterwald’s front steps “the only un-sat-on front steps in town”?Why was Jeffrey able to eat at the Pickwell dinner table?Why do you think the Little Leaguers cheered and screamed when Jeffrey hit the ball?How did Jeffrey Magee acquire the nickname “Maniac”?
15Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is the use of words to imitate sounds. Writers use onomatopoeia because it can give double emphasis to their work.Brainstorm a list of onomatopoeic words.Locate words from Chapters 1-12.
16Examples The ball just zoomed to the backstop. Stones clanked off the steel rails.Arnold Jones’s teeth. They’re chattering like snare drums.And even though they couldn’t stop their much larger mother from lifting them up and plunking them into the water, they could refuse to touch the soap or washcloth.He loved the noise of the church they went to on Sunday mornings, a church called Bethany- when the minister would thump on the pulpit and the people would call out “Amen”.
17Questions for discussion Chapters 9-12 After Maniac was rescued from Mars Bar by the lady with the broom, “there was something he felt like doing,” but the woman left the scene. What do you think Maniac wanted to do?Although Mr. Beale did not speak at all, we learned a lot about him from his actions. How would you characterize Amanda’s father?Why were the numbers on the Beales’ door so important to Maniac?
18Homework questions Chapters 9-12 How John McNab’s behavior confirm his reputation as a bully and a bad sport?Why did the Cobras stop chasing Maniac Magee at Hector Street?Why was Mars Bar surprised by Maniac’s response when he offered him his candy bar? Why was Maniac confused by Mars Bar’s behavior?When Amanda saw Maniac surrounded by Mars Bar and his friends, she greeted him and accused Mars Bar of ripping her book. What did these actions reveal about Amanda’s character?Why did Mrs. Beale extend her friendship and hospitality to Maniac?How did Mr. Beale know that Maniac was homeless?
19Story Elements Setting- where and when a story takes place Characters- the people in the story. An author will usually describe physical appearance, personality, behavior, thoughts, and interactions with other characters.Conflict- the struggle or clash between opposing characters or forces.Person vs. personPerson vs. naturePerson vs. self
20Homework Questions Chapters 13-16 How did life improve in the Beale household after Maniac moved in?Why were to Beales and the doctor surprised that Maniac was unaware of his pizza allergy?Why did Jeffrey reject the nickname Maniac?Why did Mrs. Beale object to Maniac’s “trash talk”?What was meant by the statement, “Manaic Magee was blind”?
21Cliffhanger- a place in a story where the author leaves you in a place of heightened tension or suspense.What is the cliffhanger at the end of Chapter 16?PredictionMake a list of three predictions you have for future events in Maniac Magee. Be sure you can back up your predictions with support from the text.
22Writing ActivityJerry Spinelli used language to create images of the sounds and colors of the East End. Reread the first two pages of Chapter 14 and then complete a chart with examples of sound and color images. Then write a description of a scene that is familiar to you, using sound and color imagery.
23AnalogiesWord analogies are equations in which the first pair of words has the same relationship as the second pair of words.Black is to White as Rich is to PoorGloves are to Hands as Hats are to Heads
24Discussion Questions Chapters 17-21 Why do you think Amanda showed anger instead of sadness when Maniac decided to leave?Why do you think Maniac accepted the challenge of Cobble’s Knot?Do you think Maniac made the right decision?
25Homework questions Chapters 17-21 Why did it take Maniac so long to realize that the old man at the fire hydrant was yelling at him?What made Maniac decide it was time to leave the Beales’ home?Why did Maniac take a nap in the midst of his know-untying challenge?Why did Maniac leave after successfully untying the knot?
26Writing ActivityImagine you are Maniac Magee. Write a letter of farewell to the Beales, explaining your decision to leave, expressing your appreciation of the time you spent with them, and suggesting what you might do in the future.
27MetaphorThere was a frayed weariness in the old mans’ words, as though they had long since worn out.What are Grayson’s spoken words being compared to?What does this use of language reveal about Grayson’s history and current state of being?
28Discussion Questions Chapters 22-26 Why do you think Grayson assumed responsibility as Maniac’s care giver?Why do you think Grayson was surprised to learn that Maniac had lived on Sycamore Street? Why do you think he was also surprised to learn how the Beales lived?Why do you think Maniac wanted Grayson to talk about his past? Why do you think Grayson finally agreed to tell his story?
29Homework Questions Chapters 22-26 What was Maniac’s condition when Grayson found him?Why didn’t Maniac want to go to school?How did Maniac try to make up for his lack of formal education?Why did Maniac choose to sleep in the equipment room instead of accepting the offer to share Grayson’s room?
30PersonificationPersonification is when a non-human thing is given human characteristics.For most of November, winter toyed with Two Mills, whispered in its ear, tickled it under the chin. On Thanksgiving Thursday, winter kicked it in the stomach.What is being personified?How does this help you visualize the weather better than if the author had just said, “It was cold in November”?
31Discussion Questions Chapters 27-32 What is the connection between the first two paragraphs of Chapter 27 and this sentence from Chapter 23?The old man just looked at him for a while with a mixture of puzzlement and recognition, as though the fish he had landed might be the same one he had thrown away long before?Why do you think Grayson was slow to show joy when he learned to read and hesitated to show physical affection to Maniac?Do you think Maniac should have run away from the cemetery?Do you think the author should have prepared the reader for Grayson’s death? Why do you think his death occurred during a time of great happiness?
32Homework Questions Chapters 27-32 How was Maniac’s life similar to Grayson’s life during his early years?How did Maniac prove himself to be an excellent teacher?How did the Beales’ religious influence show in Maniac’s behavior?Why did Grayson stop thinking of himself as a failure?Why did Maniac paint a number on the band shell door?Why did Maniac and Grayson need a second Christmas tree
33Point of ViewPoint of view is the perspective from which a story is told.First person: the narrator participates in the action and refers to himself as “I”Third person: the narrator is not a character in the story, and refers to the characters as “He” or “She” as the events are told.
34Discussion Questions Chapters 33-37 How did the McNabs’s home and family life compare to the other families Maniac had lived with- his aunt and uncle, the Beales, and Grayson?Although the young McNab boys had a father and a home, why did Maniac refer to them as orphans?
35Homework questions Chapters 33-37 Why do you think Maniac painted out the number on the band shell door and decided not to live there any longer?What made Maniac forget suicide? Why was he so intent upon returning Russell and Piper to their family?How did it come about that Maniac was invited to the home of John McNab, his former enemy?In what strange way did Maniac pay Russell and Piper’s “school tuition”? Why do you think he agreed to do this?
36PredictionWhat do you think will happen to Maniac in the East End? Why?
37Homework questions Chapters 38-46 Why did Maniac have mixed feelings about winning the race against Mars Bar?Why did Maniac bring Mars Bar to the East End? Was his plan successful?Why did Mars Bar hide from Maniac when they first began running in the early morning? Why did the boys run together but never speak to each other?Why didn’t Maniac, who was usually so brave and kind, help Russell when he was stranded on the trolley trestle?
38What happened between Maniac and Mars Bar at the zoo? Why did it take Amanda’s pulling and prodding to get Maniac to go home with her?
39Discussion Questions Chapters 38-46 What do you think Maniac was referring to as he stood looking at the pillbox in the McNab house and said, “Now there was something else in that house, and it smelled worse than garbage….”?What do you think Maniac meant when he stated that Russell and Piper were the same as Hester and Lester but they were “spoiling, rotting from the outside in, like a pair of peaches in the sun”?
40What do you think Maniac meant when he asserted that “East End and West End, black and white would begin only when the alarm clocks rang”?Why do you think Mars Bar and Maniac became friends? Do you think this kind of friendship could actually develop between former adversaries?Do you think it is possible for people to overcome deep-rooted prejudice as happened in this story?
41Homework Questions Chapters 38-46 Why did Maniac have mixed feelings about winning the race against Mars Bar?Why did Maniac bring Mars Bar to the East End? Was his plan successful?Why did Mars Bar hide from Maniac when they first began running in the early mornings? Why did the boys run together but never speak to each other?
42Why didn’t Maniac, who was usually so brave and kind, help Russell when he was stranded on the trolley trestle?What happened between Maniac and Mars Bar at the zoo?Why did it take Amanda’s pulling and prodding to get Maniac to go home with her?