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Johnny Hangtime

Johnny Hangtime

4.4 20
by Dan Gutman

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It's a bird, It's a plane--no, It's Johnny Hangtime!

Jumping off the Empire State Building, fighting on the wing of a biplane, and parachuting onto the back of a horse are all in a day's work for 13-year-old Johnny Thyme, a stunt kid known in the movie business as Johnny Hangtime. But Johnny's phenomenal feats are a movie industry


It's a bird, It's a plane--no, It's Johnny Hangtime!

Jumping off the Empire State Building, fighting on the wing of a biplane, and parachuting onto the back of a horse are all in a day's work for 13-year-old Johnny Thyme, a stunt kid known in the movie business as Johnny Hangtime. But Johnny's phenomenal feats are a movie industry secret. Ricky Corvette, the superstar teen for whom Johnny doubles, wants his fans to think he does his own stunts. Johnny's devoted to repeating the career of his legendary stuntman father, but what's he going to do when his favorite director asks him to perform the super-dangerous stunt that killed his father? Will following in his daredevil; dad's footsteps take him over the edge?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gutman's (Babe and Me) latest novel introduces a 13-year-old with a career that kids will surely find cool: he's a "stuntkid," performing daring feats on behalf of Ricky Corvette, a teen movie star and heartthrob. Johnny's father, a legendary stuntman, allegedly died three years earlier while filming a daring maneuver over Niagara Falls. The plot moves between Johnny's stints on the set of New York Nightmare (including some behind-the-scenes revelations about pulling off seemingly impossible stunts) and his non-working life, which entails being roughed-up by the school bully. The boy's flip, first-person narrative will endear him to readers ("I was having such a good time that I nearly forgot to open my parachute. This can be dangerous, as you might imagine"). The tale culminates in a dangerous stunt at--where else--Niagara Falls, and though the credibility of Gutman's plot crumbles (Johnny's long-lost father appears on the set, begging his son to forgo the stunt; Ricky Corvette suddenly decides, for the first time ever, to perform his own action scene, and breaks both his arms and legs in the process), the author sets the scene for a sappy Hollywood ending, and a kid-pleasing wrap. Ages 8-12. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Young daredevils will enjoy this action-adventure book about Johnny Thyme (also known as Johnny Hangtime), a thirteen-year-old performer who completes dangerous stunts for movies. While serving as the stunt double for Ricky Corvette, a pompous teenage superstar, Johnny jumps off the Statue of Liberty, fights on the wing of a biplane, parachutes onto the back of a horse, and much more. Although he's famous on the movie set, no one knows about his secret life as a stunt kid. Due to legal stipulations, he is not at liberty to discuss his experiences with anyone, including the kids at school. When the movie director, Roland Rivers, asks him to perform the same stunt that almost killed his father, Johnny is somewhat apprehensive. However, to his surprise (and everyone else's), Ricky decides to do the stunt himself. Unfortunately, things go awry and the teenager heartthrob ends up in the hospital. As a result, Johnny completes the remaining scenes (minus the Niagara Falls stunt) and receives star billing, which leads to his overnight success and a future bright with possibilities. This fast-paced book will be popular among young adventure seekers. 2000, HarperTrophy, $4.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Debra Briatico
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Thirteen-year-old Judith of Nesscliff is a talented musician in 13th-century England. She is distraught when her gluttonous stepfather announces her betrothal to the middle-aged and coarse Lord Walter. At her engagement dinner, Judith is entranced by Robin, a musician in the King's Minstrels, and decides to escape by disguising herself as a boy, "Jude," and begins a trek across England to audition for this prestigious group. Along the way, she encounters those who help and those who harm or hinder her, including a cruel thief and a beautiful lady who thinks "Jude" would make an ideal husband. While the book has its strengths, it is not consistently well written. Too often, the characters' thoughts rather than their actions provide details about themselves or other characters. Though plenty happens to Jude, the events do not tie together in a way that creates a true feeling of suspense, and the ending, in which Judith and Robin head off to his family manor together, seems to come too soon and too abruptly. Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (1995) and Catherine, Called Birdy (1994, both Clarion) are more satisfying. However, even though this novel has some weaknesses, Haahr has created a strong and charming female character.-Toni D. Moore, Simon Kenton High School, Independence, KY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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File size:
359 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Johnny Hangtime SNY

Chapter One

Fall in New York

The Empire State Building points skyward, like a gigantic pencil, 1,454 feet over the island of Manhattan. It was built with sixty thousand tons of steel, I've been told. That's enough to lay down railroad tracks from New York to Baltimore. The building has 60 miles of water pipe and 3,500 miles of telephone wire. There are seventy-three elevators inside. On the outside, 6,500 windows need to be washed continually. The eighty-sixth floor observatory sits 1,050 feet above street level.

And I'm about to jump off it.

It's a clear day, just a few minutes after sunrise. New York City is spread out, waking up before me. I can look down on the Chrysler Building and the United Nations. There are three bridges in the distance stretching across the East River. The ships plowing through the early morning waters look like toys in a bathtub. The cars below don't look like Fords or Toyotas. They look like Hot Wheels and Matchbox. People...well, they're so tiny I can barely see them at all.

Looking out at the horizon, I estimate that visibility must be eighty miles or more. New Jersey lies across the Hudson River. I bet I can see all the way to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts too. It occurs to me that alarm clocks must be going off up and down the East Coast right now. People are waking up groggily after a long night's sleep, putting their feet on solid ground.

Looking straight down past the tips of my sneakers, I can look down the eighty-six stories stretching toward Fifth Avenue below. The Empire State Building hasn't been the tallest building in the world for years, butit's still the most beautiful, if you ask me. I remember reading that they built the whole thing in just twenty-five weeks. Fourteen men were killed during the construction. But none of them jumped off.

I have been planning to do this for months. Thought about it over and over in my mind. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. Finally, I'm ready. I'm nervous. I'm scared. But I feel like King Kong.

They say a penny dropped from this height would go through a skull like a knife through Jell-O. What would happen to a human body that fell so far?

I would be killed, of course. No question about that. But would there be anything left of me? Any remains for Mom to identify? Or would some sanitation crew simply scrape me off the pavement like an egg off a skillet, and then continue on down the street picking up trash? If I think too much about that, I'll chicken out, I know.

The shadow of the sun is creeping across the city, one avenue at a time. The air is thin, and it's cold up here. Wind coming off the river makes the building sway back and forth slightly. Maybe it's just an optical illusion. I slide my sneakers forward a couple of inches, so the toes hang over the edge and my heels rest on brick.

My hands are behind my back, grasping the iron rails tightly. I can feel my heart beating. Maybe even hear it. Or is that a guy with a jackhammer fixing a pothole down below?

There's no turning back now. I bend my knees, let go of the iron bars, and push off, hard, stretching my arms out in front of me. For a moment, I feel like I'm suspended in the air, like a cartoon character who doesn't fall because he hasn't yet noticed he's run off a cliff.

And then, the inevitable. Gravity reaches up and grabs at me. I start to fall, first slowly. You pick up speed so fast in free fall. The wind rushes by my face, ripping at my hair. It turns me around. My clothes are flapping. It's dizzying.

I'm powerless now. It's out of my control. When you jump, it's the only time no part of your body is touching anything. There's nothing for your muscles to push against. It would be an incredibly relaxing experience, if only we could relax in this situation. Nobody can.

And it's over so quickly. In the movies, things like this go on forever. But real life doesn't happen in slo-mo.

It's over much more quickly than I expect. I don't have the chance to enjoy it. All too soon, my body hits bottom.

Johnny Hangtime SNY. Copyright © by Dan Gutman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Dan Gutman is the New York Times bestselling author of the Genius Files series. He is also the author of the Baseball Card Adventure series, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies around the world, and the My Weird School series, which has sold more than 10 million copies.

Thanks to his many fans who voted in their classrooms, Dan has received nineteen state book awards and ninety-two state book award nominations. He lives in New York City with his wife, Nina. You can visit him online at www.dangutman.com.

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Johnny Hangtime 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gender: She cat. Looks: Black cat with yellow eyes. Age: 14 Moons. Mate/ Crush: None. Kits: None. Rank: Medecine Cat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I vote any cat...............................
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me or Nightpelt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its ok if ur a flogerthead jollybutts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read about this in My Weird Writing Tips. You are right, Yo should have called it The Stunt Kid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Itmade you want to reamore. Also dnot read unpredictable it gives away the whole book. It is just a good mystery in a book and dont worry when you get to the end everything turns out just fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!! Lots of action and adventure. Interesting characters and settings.
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Erika Rulison More than 1 year ago
Its is a great book and i recomend you to read it
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Sabrina Liu More than 1 year ago
This book is everything a kid could want.
Julius Fitzpatrick More than 1 year ago
I couldnt stop reading this! It was amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Linda Lai More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great. At first it is boring, but later on when the stunts and Ricky Corvette comes in the story begins to get exciting. What is really unpredictable is that Johnny finds his dad by the Niagra Falls stunt that everybody thought killed Joe Hangtime.Even Johnnys dad convinces Johnny not to do the stunt. Then, ricky said he would do the stunt bcuz he was tired of how he got credit for Two Birds One Stone, but Johnny was really doing the stunts. When Johnny excepts ricky doing the stunt, Ricky gets hurt. (I was hoping Ricky would die). Then to finish the play, Roland Rivers (the director) asks Johnny to finish Rickys 7 lines of Dialouge. Then Johnny, finally realizes he is tired of risking his life in stunting, and that acting is wat he should do. Then finally Johnny gets the credit.