We start with some backstory.
Only, it seems a little … legendary.
Maniac Magee was born in a dump, his heart is a cereal box, he has an eight-inch pet cockroach on a leash.
Spoiler alert: that part is almost 100% certainly not true.
He's so cool that he has his very own jump-rope rhyme: "Ma-niac, Ma-niac/ He's so cool" (BTS.7).