Freak the Mighty (Scholastic Gold)

Freak the Mighty (Scholastic Gold)

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English
192 Pages

Description

<i>Freak the Mighty</i> joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!<br /><br />It has been over twenty years -- and more than two million copies, eight foreign editions, and a popular Miramax feature film -- since the world was introduced to this powerful story of a unique friendship between a troubled, oversized boy and the tiny, physically challenged genius who proves that courage comes in all sizes. <br /><br />This simple yet timeless story explores many themes, including bullying -- an important topic in today's schools. <i>Freak the Mighty</i> is sure to remain fresh, dramatic, and memorable for the next twenty years and beyond!

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Published by
Published 01 March 2013
Reads 1
EAN13 9780545600279
License: All rights reserved
Language English

Legal information: rental price per page €. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

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“A wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, sh ame, and loss…. The author writes with empathy, honoring the possibilities of even peripheral characters; Kevin and Max are memorable and luminous. Many … novels d eal with effects of a friend dying, but this one is somewhat different and very special.” School Library Journal, starred review
“… mesmerizingly suspenseful … poignant…. Easily re ad but compelling; an intriguing and unusual story.” Kirkus Reviews, pointered review
“… the story is both riveting and poignant, with so lid characters, brisk pacing, and even a little humor to carry us along.” Booklist, boxed review
“The book is subtle but compelling, with the outrag eous grotesquerie of the partnership conveyed enjoyably in Max’s narration…. Sort ofA Separate Peace meetsOf Mice and Men….” BCCB
“Told from Max’s perspective, the harrowing events of his life are revealed gradually, as he is able to face them, thanks to the wisdom of his friend who had taught him to ‘think your way out of the pain.’ A fascinating exc ursion into the lives of people whose freakishness proves to be a thin cover for th eir very human condition.” The Horn Book Magazine
“The unique voice of this first-person narrative is fresh, funny and touching…. The well-paced, compelling story leaves the reader feel ing privileged to have shared the friendship of Freak the Mighty.Highly Recommended.” Book Report
Freak the Mightyby Rodman Philbrick … is a winner. From the openin g paragraphs, this book has a distinctive ‘voice’ as Philbrick de velops his unusual characters…. In the hands of a lesser writer, these characters migh t have become clichés, but Philbrick develops an engaging story as this unlike ly pair form a friendship and eventually combine forces to become Freak the Mighty.” Santa Cruz County Sentinel
A Judy Lopez Memorial Award Honor Book
To the real Kevin, and the real Gwen, with love.
Contents
Praise Title Page Dedication 1. The Unvanquished Truth
2. Up from the Down Under
3. American Flyer
4. What Frightened the Fair Gwen
5. Spitting Image
6. Close Encounter of the Turd Kind
7. Walking High Above the World
8. Dinosaur Brain
9. Life Is Dangerous
10. Rats or Worse
11. The Damsel of Distress
12. Killer Kane, Killer Kane, Had a Kid Who Got No Brain
13. American Chop Suey
14. Cross My Heart and Hope to Die
15. What Came Down the Chimney
16. A Chip off the Old Block
17. By All That’s Holy
18. Never Trust a Cripple
19. Into the Black Down Under
20. Freak the Mighty Strikes Again
21. The Accident of Nature
22. Remembering Is Just an Invention of the Mind
23. The Empty Book
24. The Return of Kicker
25. What Loretta Said
Freak’s Dictionary
After Words™
About the Author
Finding My Voice: An Interview with Rodman Philbric k
Rod’s Writing Tips Knights and Quests and the Real Fair Guinevere
Freak the Mighty’s Make-Your-Own-Quest Guide (in Fo ur Easy Steps)
A Sneak Peek at Max the Mighty
Copyright
I never had a brain until Freak came along and let me borrow his for a while, and that’s the truth, the whole truth. The unvanquished truth, is how Freak would say it, and for a long time it was him who did the talking. Except I had a way of saying things with my fists and my feet even before we bec ame Freak the Mighty, slaying dragons and fools and walking high above the world. Called me Kicker for a time — this was day care, th e year Gram and Grim took me over — and I had a thing about booting anyone wh o dared to touch me. Because they werealwaystrying to throw a hug on me, like it was a medicin e I needed. Gram and Grim, bless their pointed little heads, th ey’re my mother’s people,her parents, and they figured whoa! better put this little critter with other little critters his own age, maybe it will improve his temper. Yeah, right! Instead, what happened, I invented gam es like kick-boxing and kick-knees and kick-faces and kick-teachers, and kick-th e-other-little-day-care-critters, because I knew what a rotten lie that hug stuff was . Oh, Iknew. That’s when I got my first look at Freak, that year of the phony hugs. He didn’t look so different back then, we were all of us pretty small, right? But he wasn’t in the playroom with us every day, just now and then he’d show up. Looking sort of fierce, is how I remember him. Except later it was Freak himself who taught me that remembering is a great invention of the mind, and i f you try hard enough you can remember anything, whether it really happened or no t. So maybe he wasn’t really allthatfierce in day care, except I’m pretty sure he did hit a kid with his crutch once, whacked the little brat pretty good. And for some reason little Kicker never got around to kicking li ttle Freak. Maybe it was those crutches kept me from lashing ou t at him, man those crutches were cool. I wanted a pair for myself. And when little Freak showed up one day with these shiny braces strapped to his crooked legs, metal tubes right up to his hips, why those were evenmorecool than crutches. “I’m Robot Man,” little Freak would go, making thes e weird robot noises as he humped himself around the playground.Rrr … rrrr … rrrr… like he had robot motors inside his legs, goingrrrr … rrrr … rrrr, and this look, like don’t mess with me, man, maybe I got a laser cannon hidden inside these leg braces, smoke a hole right through you. No question, Freak was hooked on robots even back then, this little guy two feet tall, and already he knew what he wanted. Then for a long time I never saw Freak anymore, one day he just never came back to day care, and the next thing I remember I’m like in the third grade or something and I catch a glimpse of this yellow-haired kid scowling at me from one of those cripple vans. Man, they were death-ray eyes, and I think, hey, that’s him, the robot boy, and it was like whoa! because I’d forgotten all about him, day care was a blank place in my head, and nobody had called me Ki cker for a long time. Mad Max they were calling me, or Max Factor, or thi s one butthead in L.D. class
called me Maxi Pad, until I persuaded him otherwise . Gram and Grim always called me Maxwell, though, which is supposed to be my real name, and sometimes I hated that worst of all. Maxwell, ugh. Grim out in the kitchen one night, after supper whispering to Gram had she noticed how much Maxwell was getting to look likeHim? Which is the way he always talked about my father, who had married his dear de parted daughter and produced, eek eek, Maxwell. Grim never says my father’s name, justHim, like his name is too scary to say. It’s more than just the way Maxwell resembles him, Grim says that night in the kitchen, the boy islikehim, we’d better watch out, you never know what he might do while we’re sleeping. Like his father did. And Gram right away shushes him and says don’t ever say that, because little pictures have b ig ears, which makes me run to the mirror to see if it is my big ears made me look lik eHim. What a butthead, huh? Well, Iwasin until Freak moveda butthead, because like I said, I never had a bra down the street. The summer before eighth grade, right? That’s the summer I grew so fast that Grim said we’d best let the boy go barefoot, he’s exploding out of his shoes. That barefoot summer when I fell down a lot, and the weirdo robot boy with his white-yellow hair and his weird fierce eyes mov ed into the duplex down the block with his beautiful brown-haired mom, the Fair Gwen of Air. Only a falling-down goon would think that was her real name, right? Like I said. Are you paying attention here? Because you don’t ev en know yet how we got to be Freak the Mighty. Which was pretty cool, even if I do say so myself.
That summer, let’s see, I’m still living in the bas ement, my own private down under, in the little room Grim built for me there. Glued u p this cheap paneling, right? It sort of buckles away from the concrete cellar walls, a regular ripple effect, but do I complain about the crummy paneling, or the rug that smells like low tide? I do not. Because Ilikeit in the down under, got the place all to myself and no fear of Gram sticking her head in the door and saying Maxwell de ar, whatareyou doing? Not that I everdom at amuch of anything. Grim has it fixed in his head I’ dangerous age and they need to keep me under observ ation. Like I might make bombs or start a fire. Or whack out the local pets with my trusty slingshot or whatever — except I neverhada slingshot, it was Grim who had one when he was m y age. The proof is right there in the family photo album. You can see this blurry little miniature Grim with no front teeth, grinning at the camera and yanking back on this prehistoric slingshot. Good for whacking mastodons, probably. “Just proper targets,” Grim says, closing up the photo album, end of discu ssion. Like, oops, better hide the evidence. Don’t want to give the dangerous boy any ideas. Not that Ihaveany ideas. My brain is vacant, okay? I’m just this critter hiding out in the basement, drooling in my comic books or whatever. All right, I never actually drool, but you get the picture. Anyhow, this is the first day of July, already coun ting down for the Fourth and wondering where can I get an M80, which is supposed to have the explosive power of a quarter stick of dynamite or something, and wh en it goes off your heart thuds to a stop for a microsecond,wham,. Which is probably what Grim is afraid of, eek eek Maxwell armed with dynamite. So finally I get bored in the down under and I’m ha nging out in the so-called back yard, your basic chunk of chain-link heaven. Grim k eeps this crummy little mower in the shed, but what’s the point of mowing dirt, righ t? Okay, I’m out there messing around and that’s when I see the moving van. Not yo ur mainstream, nationwide, brand-name mover, either, just some cheapo local ou tfit. These big bearded dudes in their sweaty undershirts lugging stuff into the dup lex half that’s been vacant since last Christmas, when the dope fiend who lived there finally got busted. At first I’m thinking the dope fiend is back, he’s out of jail or whatever, and he’s moving his stuff back in. Then I see the Fair Gwen. Not that I knew her name, that was a little while later. At first she’s a glimpse, caught her going between the van and the front door, talking to the beards. I’m thinking ,hey I know her, and then I’m thinking,eautifulno way, butthead, no way you’d know a female that b . Because she looks like some kind of movie star. Wea ring these old jeans and a baggy T-shirt, and her long hair is tied back and s he’s probably sweating, but she stilllooks like a movie star. Like she has this glow, a secret spotlight that follows her around and makes her eyes light up. And I’m thinking, wellthisahimproves the old neighborhood. You’re thinking, ye
right, the goon is barely out of seventh grade, who does he think he is? All I’m saying, the Fair Gwen had star quality, and even a total moron can see it. And the reason she looked familiar is, I must have seen her bringing Freak to day care, way back in the dark ages, because the next thing I notice is this crippled-up yellow-haired midget kid strutting around the sidewalk, gi ving orders to the beards. He’s going: “Hey you, Doofus! Yeah, you with the ha iry face, take it easy with that box. That box contains a computer, you know wh at a computer is?” I can’t believe it. By then I’m sneaking along the street to see what’s going on, and there’s this weird-looking little dude, he’s go t a normal-sized head, but the rest of him is shorter than a yardstick and kind of twisted in a way that means he can’t stand up straight and makes his chest puff out, and he’s waving his crutches around and yelling up at the movers. “Hey, Gwen,” one of the beards says, “can’t you giv e this kid a pill or something? He’s driving us nuts.” So Gwen comes out of the house and pushes the hair out of her big brown eyes and she goes, “Kevin, go play in the back yard, oka y?” “But my computer.” “Your computer is fine. Leave the men alone. They’l l be done soon and then we can have lunch.” By this time I’m hunkering along in front of the pl ace, trying to maintain a casual attitude, except like I said my feet are going wild that year and I keep tripping over everything. Cracks in the sidewalk, ants on the sid ewalk, shadows, anything. Then the strange little dude jerks himself around a nd catches sight of me and he lifts a crutch and points it up at my heart and he goes, “Identify yourself, earthling.” I’m busy keeping my feet from tripping and don’t ge t it that he means me. “I said identify yourself, earthling, or suffer the consequences.” I’m like, what? And before I can decide whether or not to tell him my name, or whichname, because by now I recognize him as the weird little robot kid from day care and maybe he remembers me as Kicker, anyhow be fore I can say a word he pulls the trigger on the crutch and makes a weapon noise, and he goes, “Then die, earthling, die!” I motor out of there without saying a word. Because I’m pretty sure he really means it. The way he points that crutch is only part of it. You have to see the look in his eye. Man, that little dude really hates me. Hewantsme to die.