Study Guide

Maniac Magee Writing Style

By Jerry Spinelli

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Writing Style

Fun, Hyperbolic

Not only did he shamble, jive, shuck and hipdoodle at his own sweet pace, he did something he had never even done in the East End—he came to a complete and utter halt halfway across and let nothing but the evil in his eyes take care of the rest. He stood like that for one full minute. By the time he finally moved onto the far side, so the legend goes, twenty-three cars, several bicycles, and a bus were stacked to a dead stop in both directions. (41.14)

Hipdoodle? You betcha. In the quote above we can really see Mars let his attitude carry him across this street, and we're having a good time watching him too. And check out the hyperbole: 23 cars are stopped waiting for this one kid to move. That's the stuff of legends, right there.

It's not just about the language though; it's also the wacky, hilarious world that the narrator creates. That's what happens when you add a frog. Or live with a buffalo. Or race a train. Maniac is a unique kid with a unique journey, and Spinelli makes sure we don't ever forget this.

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