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Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me Hardcover – May 12, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Black-Eyed Susan Book Awards Grades 4-6 2011
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596434996
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596434998
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,500,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's July 1969 and while the attention of everyone else in her Long Island neighborhood is on the impending moonwalk, Tamara Ann Simpson's focus is the black hole created by the sudden departure of her best friend, Kebsie, a foster child who lived across the street. She directs her considerable anger at Douglas McGinty, the new foster kid, whom she ironically dubs "Muscle Man." In her self-absorbed grief, Tammy fails to see that the whoppers Douglas tells-he's training for the 1972 Olympics, he's sung on Broadway-are his way of coping with a major loss of his own. "Muscle Man McGinty is a squirrelly runt, a lying snake, and a pitiful excuse for a ten-year old," Tammy's narration begins. "The problem is.... only I can see him for what he really is." Indeed, among the well-realized cast of scruffy neighborhood pals, no one joins Tammy's campaign to unmask Muscle Man as a phony. But author Marino, in her debut, pulls off the neat trick of having created a sullen, feisty protagonist who is worthy of redemption. Ages 8-12.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Tamara Ann Simpson has a problem—10-year-old Muscle Man McGinty. It's the summer of 1969, and Neil Armstrong is about to take his first steps on the moon. Muscle Man has moved to Tamara's street, into her former best friend's house, and has the audacity to be the world's biggest liar. While it aggravates Tamara that no one else seems to notice his whoppers, she takes her irritation too far and lets it nearly consume her. A tragedy, a true story, and a heart-felt plea may be able to change her mind before it's too late. The characters that inhabit Ramble Street are voiced by Emily Bauer. She has a good grasp of Tamara's personality. While her voices for some of the boys are not completely unique, it doesn't detract from the story because the neighborhood kids are almost the Greek chorus and, as such, at times speak as one voice. Nan Marino's debut novel (Roaring Brook Press, 2009) is poignant and witty.—Laura Davies, Kenton County Public Library, Independence, KY END --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I happened to listen to the audio version while my daughter read the book.
MJ Sullivan
This book deals with some very big issues such as the Vietnam War and the loss of family members; however, I think the author handled all of this in a wonderful way.
Julie Peterson
And bad things too because her best friend moved away from the neighborhood without any notice.
Alexandra Whitman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Quinn on May 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What an excellent offering for young adults! This slim book should be an easy read for the 8-12 crowd, and offers some important life lessons about loss and dreams and rushing to judgment.

In this first person account, Tamara speaks with a clear and wonderful voice that really captures the petulant anger and confusion of a young girl whose best friend moved away without advance notice or a forwarding address. As she struggles to understand why everyone in the neighborhood is so nice to the boy now living in her former best friend's room, Tamara finds herself bullying the new kid on the block despite his best efforts to become her friend.

I enjoyed this novel and recommend teachers consider it for possible inclusion in a school curriculum. Highly recommended!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Whisper "historical fiction" in a kid's ear and you may see them blanch and cringe at the thought. Ugh. History. And history in fiction? For many a kid it conjures up thoughts of dry, required reading. Titles that are supposed to teach and inform even as they "entertain" (read: bore). Kids with a penchant for historical fiction know that there's a wide swath of titles out there to enjoy, but too often it's the dull ones that end up on the Summer Reading lists. Books of historical fiction that are set during recent decades past also tend to be "meaningful" tales. They usually involve personal growth, acceptance of change, and maybe a dead dog or two. The out-and-out fabulous and funny recent historical fiction is the genre I want to see more of. And with a title like "Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me" this little ole book is exactly what the doctor ordered. It takes a single moment in history (the moon landing) and wraps around it a story of a boy who can't stop fibbing, and the girl who loathes him so.

To Tamara's mind there's no lying snake in the grass any lower than that strutting, self-assured, blowhard Muscle Man McGinty. That's not his real name, of course. That's just the moniker Tamara gave him to make fun of his skinny, weak little self, but the kid was so pleased with the title that he adopted it on the spot. Tamara has a lot of reasons to hate this kid too. For one thing he's the foster kid that replaced her best friend Kebsie. Kebsie and her mom moved away recently and Tamara hasn't heard a thing from her. Her parents hardly talk to her, her brother's constantly fighting with her dad, and now here on top of everything is Muscle Man trying to weasel his way into everyone's affections.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Whitman on October 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Nan Marino is obviously a born storyteller!

I could connect with all the characters in the book. First there was Tamara, a 10-yr-old girl who loses her best friend after she moves away, "Muscle Man", the new neighbor who moved into Tamara's friend's house, and all the other kids on Ramble Street.

The story is filled with happiness, sadness, and interesting mysteries. Good things happen to Tamara, like her brother coming home from college. And bad things too because her best friend moved away from the neighborhood without any notice. I really liked how Tamara tried to find out where her friend moved away, it was a mystery she couldn't figure out.

As a 10-yr-old myself, my life is filled with all kinds of emotions also, that's what I liked about this book, a young reader can connect with the characters. I liked trying to find out if all the lies told by "Muscle Man" were true or not.

I found out that this was Nan Marino's first book, and I thought it was amazing. I read it in a couple days because I was interested and didn't want to stop reading. As you can see from my review, this is definitely a book I will remember.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Loves to Read/Loves to Teach on January 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Kirsten writes: Muscle Man Maginty is a liar! He lies to get attention. Muscle Man and Tamara are connected because Muscle Man moved into Tamara's best friend's house. Tamara misses her best friend, Kebsie. I like this book and you should too.

Leigha writes: I like the part in the book when Muscle Man and the other team plays kickball and the score is 43 to nothing. Muscle Man is a liar and he is bad at kickball. Tamara is good at kickball and hates Muscle Man because he has taken the place of her friend Kebsie. You should read this book because it is awesome!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By samfl on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book can be summed up in one question - how many social issues can I cram into a book less than 200 pages? There's a cute little story in there somewhere about learning not to judge a book by it's cover. But you can barely find it with all the social issues the author forces into the story that aren't really needed. In less than 200 pages, you get the pleasure of encountering the following: the uncertainty of foster care, domestic violence, the fact parents can die in horrible car accidents and make you an orphan, the hippie mentality vs traditional values, the vietman war, draft vs college, the fact that soldiers die in war, children sneaking out of the house at night, etc, etc, etc. Just tell a story - and stop telling stories to kids with social issues that are not needed to tell the story. This book is more confusing than entertaining, and I certainly would NOT have wanted my child to read this book alone and be guessing as to what all these issue were, based on how they were portrayed in the book. HORRIBLE book.
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