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HIT THE ROAD, MANNY by Christian Burch


by Christian Burch

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-2812-6
Publisher: Atheneum

The manny is back, and he’s on the road with Keats and crew in an RV bound for Las Vegas. Billed as an opportunity for the family to bond but coming across more like the pretext for a series of humorous vignettes, the trip includes stops at an offbeat roadside museum, an encounter with unenlightened locals, a heartfelt reunion with the manny’s parents and a feel-good grand finale. Once again, the writing is smooth, the quips amusing and the characters charmingly quirky. And once again, the focus is on the manny—his relationship with his partner, his parents and the world at large—and the intended audience is unclear. Burch’s references to ’80s music and old TV ads will elicit chuckles from adults. Keats’s ersatz naïveté and ingenuous comments, particularly in his postcards home, will likely wring another round of laughs from same. But even those kids who might identify with Keats (i.e., outsiders with excellent taste and inflated vocabularies) seem unlikely to enjoy the arch tone and adult-centric jokes indefinitely. Delightful but misdirected. (Fiction. 9-12)