Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick

Title:  Freak the Mighty
Author:  Rodman Philbrick
Publisher:  Scholastic
Year:  2001
Pages:  192
Genre:  Realistic Fiction
Themes:  Disabilities, Friendship, Overcoming Obstacles
Age Level:  4th-8th Grade

Summary: (from Goodreads)
Maxwell Kane, a lumbering eighth grader who describes himself as a "butthead goon," has lived with grandparents Grim and Gram ever since his father was imprisoned for murdering his mother. Mean-spirited schoolmates and special ed (for an undetermined learning disability) haven't improved his self-image, so he is totally unprepared for a friendship with Kevin, aka Freak, a veritable genius with a serious birth defect that's left him in braces and using crutches. Max is uplifted by Freak's imagination and booming confidence, while Freak gets a literal boost--hoisted onto Max's shoulders, he shares Max's mobility. Together they become Freak the Mighty, an invincible duo.

I loved this book!  Max was such a good narrator-at the same time that he is putting himself down for not having a brain, he is describing things in such a poetic, interesting way.  His heart really shows, despite his sometimes awkward behavior.  And there is a ton of fodder for a good discussion.  We have learning disabilities, exclusion, family issues, the effects of violence on children, friendship, and death and grieving.  There were moments when I laughed, I grimaced, I cried-you get the full range of emotions from this one.  Kevin's character was exceptional in many ways, but his brains and acceptance of Max were completely endearing.  There is plenty of action to please readers who are easily put off by slower paced stories, but sensitive readers who like stories with a lot of heart will enjoy it as well.  They made a movie based on the book called The Mighty which may be a good resource as well.

Teaching Resources:
  ReadWriteThink Lesson Plans
Web English Teacher Lesson Plans 
Teaching Guide from Author's Website 
Comprehension Activities from Resource Room 

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book. I read it after my daughter and I saw the movie and she read the book for a school report.
    Great review!