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Book Review: Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino

“Muscle Man McGinty is a squirrelly runt, a lying snake and a pitiful excuse for a ten-year-old. The problem is that no one on Ramble Street knows it, but me.”

Muscle Man McGinty can certainly tell some whoppers, but this time he’s done the unthinkable. He bragged he can beat the entire block in a game of kickball! On Ramble Street, tough talk about kickball cannot be ignored.

For Tamara Ann Simpson this is great news. Now she’ll finally be able to prove to everyone what a wormy little runt Muscle Man really is. Of course things would be a lot easier if her best friend Kebsie Grobser were here to help her…

It’s the summer of 1969 and the world is getting ready for a man named Neil Armstrong to make history by taking the first step on the moon. But change happens a bit more slowly in Massapequa Park, and it’ll take one giant leap for Tamara to understand the likes of Muscle Man McGinty.

Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me
Roaring Brook Press, May 2009
Grade Range: 4 to 8, Age Range: 8 to 12
Middle-Grade Fiction, Historical Fiction
160 pages
$16.95, $19.95 audio

This book offers a nostalgic look at life in a close-knit community in the turbulent sixties. The Vietnam War, hippies, Woodstock and of course the first moonwalk are all wound into this sometimes funny, sometimes tender tale. Grandparents and their grandchildren will enjoy reading about the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took those first steps on the moon and about how you sometimes need to take a few giant leaps to make a new friend.

After reading this book, a 10-year-old boy from Seattle learned that his grandfather worked on the Lunar Excursion Module in New York.  He’s since decided that he’d like to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and build spaceships when he grows up. I’m thrilled that my book was able to play a small part in helping him make this connection.

For sample chapters: https://us.macmillan.com/BookCustomPage.aspx?isbn=9781596434998#

Brilliance Audio (read by Emily Bauer) link to hear audio version

Awards: CPL: Chicago Public Library Best of the Best


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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