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THE MANNY FILES by Christian Burch


by Christian Burch

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-0039-X
Publisher: Atheneum

If the author and publisher had decided to pitch this story as an adult title, it might have been wildly successful. Keats, an amusingly self-deprecating and unbelievably articulate third grader, describes an eventful year in the life of his quirky family and details the outlandish escapades of their (totally fabulous) male nanny—i.e. “the manny.” Unfortunately, the book is aimed at readers aged nine to 12 who are unlikely to get many of the very funny jokes and who will likely tire quickly of the arch tone. Always referring to the nanny as “the manny” grows old, while the list of people whose birthdays Keats tallies include many who will be unfamiliar (Harvey Milk, for example). The biggest flaw, however, is the obvious confusion over who is really the star of the story. Here’s a hint: It’s not Keats. For a more convincing and child-centered story of a boy who happens to be gay, consider James Howe’s Totally Joe (2005). Meanwhile, share this one with any fabulous adult friends you may have. (Fiction. 9-12)