Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me

Paperback | September 18, 2012

byNan Marino

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A tender story about a tough-as-nails girl forced to take one small step towards understanding during the summer of 1969.

"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 knows it but me. In the entire town of Massapequa Park, only I can see him for what he really is. A phony."

Tamara Ann Simpson is determined to expose Muscle Man McGinty, a foster boy new to her neighborhood, for the liar that she knows he is. Muscle Man tells the other kids his uncle is Neil Armstrong and he even has the audacity to challenge the entire block to a kickball game. So, why is Tamara the only one who can see through this kid?

It's the summer of 1969 and things are changing in Tamara's little town of Massapequa, Long Island, and in the world. Perhaps Tamara can take one small step towards a bit of compassion and understanding.

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A tender story about a tough-as-nails girl forced to take one small step towards understanding during the summer of 1969."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 knows it but me. In the entire town of Massapequa Park, only I can see him for what he ...

NAN MARINO spent her childhood daydreaming in oak trees and on garage roofs. She did come down to earth for an occasional game of kickball. She lives at the Jersey shore, with her husband (who has long been obsessed with the 1969 moon landing), and a very hyper dog. Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me ...

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Kobo ebook|Apr 16 2013

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 7.66 × 5.18 × 0.47 inPublished:September 18, 2012Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312665482

ISBN - 13:9780312665487

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Chapter 1The Blizzard of ’69Muscle 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. In the entire town of Massapequa Park, only I see him for what he really is. A phony.     Knowing the truth when others fail to see it is hard on a person. That’s because the truth has a way of seeping under your skin and wrapping itself around you, like a coiled-up Slinky.     You know that tinny sound a Slinky makes? Shink. Shink. Shink.     Sometimes I hear it creeping around inside my brain. The closer I get to Muscle Man, the louder it gets. When he’s standing right next to me spewing out his whoppers, that Slinky inside me goes crazy.     SHINK! SHINK! SHINK! You can only imagine my headaches. I’ve even named the really big ones “Muscle Men” after the cause of all my problems.     Personally, I think it’s funny to name your pain, but the others on Ramble Street never get my humor. Even Big Danny, who can laugh at dead teacher jokes, fails to see the comedy.     “Jeez, Tamara,” he huffs. “The kid only moved here a few weeks ago. Can’t you give him a break?” He kicks his foot at the side of the curb.     “Jeez yourself,” is all I think of saying back.     Big Danny turns his back on me, and I turn my back on him. We are both standing at the corner of Ramble Street, each one staring in the opposite direction. Neither one of us will give up our spot on the sidewalk because the ice cream truck is about to come around for the first time this season.     It is an important day. Ice cream trucks mean summer is here. No more having Mrs. Webber, my fifth grade teacher, glaring at me through her spectacles. As far as I’m concerned, ice-cream trucks never come soon enough, and they leave far too early. Their time on Ramble Street is fleeting. And if Big Danny wants to ruin the entire morning by not speaking, that’s fine with me. It’ll be easier to hear the bells without his blabbering.     We wait in stony silence. Every once in a while, I flip my ponytail in his direction just to annoy him.     It’s not until Muscle Man McGinty pulls up on his bicycle that Big Danny starts yapping. All that time, Big Danny had something he was itching to tell. As soon as he sees Muscle Man, he blurts it out.     “I made the swim team!” shouts Big Danny.     “Hey, good for you, Big Guy!” Muscle Man pats him on the back. “Making the swim team is not an easy thing to do.”     “Yeah, congratulations,” I mumble, not sure if Big Danny is talking to me yet.     “I heard there was a lot of competition,” says Muscle Man.     Big Danny grins.     Muscle Man is wormy. He always starts with something nice before he slides into one of his whoppers.     I hold my breath, waiting for what comes next.     “Did I happen to mention I’m training for the Olympics in that same sport?” Muscle Man says.     Sure. And I’m waiting for Captain Kirk to beam me up to the starship Enterprise.     “Every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, I go to the pool and practice.” He puffs out his puny chest. “My coach thinks I’ll win a gold medal in seven races. It would be a world record, but I’m hopeful.”     “You like to swim?” asks Big Danny, like it’s every day someone announces he’s training for the Olympics.     “Yep. Coach says I’ll be ready for Munich, Germany. That’s where the next games will be.” Muscle Man presses his thumb and forefinger so close together they almost touch. “I’m this far away from the world record. All I need to do is work on my flip turn.”     Turn, schmurn. First of all, Muscle Man is barely ten, which means that in 1972, when they have the next Olympics, he’ll only be about thirteen. Plus, I’ve never seen him swim. I doubt the kid even owns a bathing suit. World record, my eye. This kid’s got as much chance of going to Munich, Germany, as I have of going to the moon.     “Maybe we could go to the pool together,” Big Danny says.     “Yeah, and you can both practice for that world’s record,” I say, with disbelief dripping off my every word.     Big Danny catches my tone and sneers at me. At me! Muscle Man sells him a bag of bull and gets nothing, and I get glared at for pointing out the obvious.     I turn away from both of them, pretending to be interested in a group of ants climbing over a half-eaten Tootsie Roll. Neither boy notices. They’re too busy talking about backstrokes and racing dives.     “Of course, no matter how famous I become, I’ll always remember my friends on Ramble Street,” says Muscle Man.     The spot above my right temple begins to throb.     Muscle Man puts his arm on Big Danny’s shoulder. “I’ll never forget you, Danny O. And you too, Tamara.”     I refuse to even look his way. Instead, I watch a tiny dandelion seed float on the breeze. I catch it before it finds its way to the ground.     “They’ll probably want to put my picture on the Wheaties box,” he says.     “Jeez. Give me a break.” I throw my hands up in the air. Before I can tell him what I think of his lies, I catch another dandelion seed. Soon, my hands are full of them. A flurry of white surrounds us.     Muscle Man looks around. “Where’s it coming from?”     Big Danny points to my house. “Tammy’s mom.”     I glance across the street to where Shirley is wrestling with the dandelions that fill our front lawn. With every pull, she sends up another flurry.     “There must be hundreds of them,” says Big Danny.     “Millions,” says Muscle Man, which is another lie. I highly doubt there are a million. A hundred thousand, maybe, but not a million.     Shirley yanks harder, and the flurry turns into a blizzard. Like snowflakes, the seeds twist and tumble before they find their way onto the lawns of Ramble Street.     “Cool.” Muscle Man cups his hand to catch a seed. Then he jabs at me playfully. “Hey, Tammy. Listen.”     I’m about to tell him that he’s got nothing to say that I want to listen to when I realize what he’s talking about.     Bells ring out in the distance. The Mr. Softee song grows louder.     Any second now that truck will turn the corner. Right in the middle of the dandelion blizzard, summer will come to Ramble Street. Excerpted from Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle by Nan Marino.Copyright © 2009 by Nan Marino.Published in 2009 by Roaring Brook Press.All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Editorial Reviews

"It is rare to have a story told with sympathy from the viewpoint of a bully. This debut novel, set in upstate New York in the summer of 1969, does just that with wit and a light touch that never denies the story's sorrows." -Starred, Booklist"Marino paints a detailed portrait of the seeming gulf that surrounds a person after loss and the surprising companionship one discovers in the face of desolation." -Starred, School Library Journal"A lovingly portrayed look at life during a memorable time in American history; it deserves to be on your child's summer reading list." -BookPage"Marino's novel brings a true voice to the pre-teenage girl of the 1960s. Tamara is both lovable and naïve, yet Marino creates a strong young woman who is set in her principles and unrelenting in achieving justice during a historic summer in America." -ALAN Online"The authenticity of the time and the voice combine with a poignant plot to reveal a depth unusual in such a straightforward first-person narrative." -Kirkus Reviews