From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8–Third-grader Keats Dalinger is thrilled when his parents hire a male nanny for him and his three sisters. Matthew, the manny as he wishes to be called, quickly wins over Keats. Fourth-grader India and three-year-old Mirabelle also delight in his comical antics and unconventional attitude. Not so with seventh-grader Lulu, who is horrified by the babysitter's eccentric behavior. She begins recording everything he does in a secret diary dubbed The Manny Files. Keats is worried, since Lulu's earlier complaints led to the firing of previous caregivers. In addition, Keats faces problems at school. His teachers constantly compare him to brainy Lulu, and a classmate constantly taunts him. When Lulu finally presents her evidence against the manny in a mock family trial, Keats leaves his fears and shyness behind and quickly defends him. Their parents consider the evidence and present a ruling that pleases everyone. A gentle background story hints at the developing relationship between Matthew and the children's Uncle Max, which gives the family something else to celebrate. This book not only portrays loving family relationships, but also shows how to deal with bullies through self-acceptance and an understanding of human nature. Whether read for entertainment or for beginning a discussion on bullying, this book will find a wide audience.–Linda L. Plevak, Saint Mary's Hall, San Antonio, TX
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Gr. 6-9. The latest in a long string of nannies for the Dalinger family turns out to be a man (nameless until the very end), who makes creative lunches and wears costumes when seeing the kids off at the bus stop. Older sister Lulu, who records the manny's various endeavors in a notebook, is convinced that his peculiarities will oblige the kids to seek analysis when they're older. Main character Keats, on the other hand, is awestruck by the manny's many talents and quickly bonds with him, as do the other members of the family. Eventually, however, Lulu calls for a family trial, which puts the manny's future with the Dalingers in doubt. The story is both warm and funny. Keats' encounters with his teacher, Ms. Grant; the manny's mention of things he plans to do "next year" (being Sarah Jessica Parker's personal shopper); and the subtly presented but growing relationship between Matthew (the manny) and Keats' beloved uncle Max add both depth and delight to the family story. Cindy Welch
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