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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?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596434996
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596434998
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,095 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

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Nan Marino is a terrific writer and is a great storyteller.
MJ Sullivan
She's grieving for her best friend who moved without a forwarding address, and she resents Muscle Man as the newcomer.
Allison M. Campbell
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, for young adults and grown-ups alike.
D. Quinn

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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Lee McKenzie on June 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of Ramble Street is poignant and heart-expanding. It's a wonderful book for middle grade readers and anyone who was once ten. Nan Marino is a wonderful storyteller, and I highly recommend her book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Library mom on May 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tamaira Simpson is a girl who believes in truth and fairness. What could be wrong with that? The kids on Ramble Street could tell you. Tamaira's best friend moves away unexpectedly and is replaced by a new foster child on the block. She tries to compensate for her hurt feelings and sense of loneliness by single-handedly taking down Muscle Man McGinty, right or wrong.
Set on Long Island in 1969, the author incorporates the Vietnam War and the historic Apollo 11 moon landing into her moving novel filled with characters that today's children will easily relate to.
This book will delight both voracious and reluctant readers with its humor and pathos. As a school librarian, I am including this winner on my summer reading list. I hope the Newbery committee reads this one!
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Lee McKenzie on June 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
In Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me is a touching yet witty story.

Nan Marino's character,Tamara Ann Simpson, is the Ramble Street girl who tugs at your heart so much you wish you could enter the pages and help her out. At the same time you ache for her archenemy, Muscle Man McGlinty. He's a kid you want to take home and make safe.

The core issue may seem to be about wining a kickball game and exposing "a squirrelly runt" for the liar he is, but really it's about trying to grow up when the adults in your life aren't helping. What makes this story truly special is the way the author juxtaposes the history-making summer of 1969 with the Everyman lives of Tamara and Muscle Man. While Neil Armstrong takes "one small step for mankind," the Ramble Street kids slog through childhood the best they can.

I highly recommend this those who are kids today and for those who were kids in the '60's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Fitzmaurice on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! Tamara sounds exactly like a ten year old from the very first line. The author's beautiful writing will keep you turning the pages, and wish there was more to read when you're finished. A must have!
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