The Manny Files (Manny Files Series)

The Manny Files (Manny Files Series)

4.9 11
by Christian Burch

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Manny /ma·ne/ n
A male nanny or babysitter, known to be handsome,
fabulous, and a lover of eighties music

"Be interesting."

That's what the manny tells Keats Dalinger the first time he packs Keats's school lunch, but for Keats that's not always the easiest thing to do. Even though he's the only boy atSee more details below


Manny /ma·ne/ n
A male nanny or babysitter, known to be handsome,
fabulous, and a lover of eighties music

"Be interesting."

That's what the manny tells Keats Dalinger the first time he packs Keats's school lunch, but for Keats that's not always the easiest thing to do. Even though he's the only boy at home, it always feels like no one ever remembers him. His sisters are everywhere! Lulu is the smart one, India is the creative one, and Belly . . . well, Belly is the naked one. And the baby. School isn't much better. There, he's the shortest kid in the entire class.

But now the manny is the Dalinger's new babysitter, and things are starting to look up. It seems as though the manny always knows the right thing to do. Not everyone likes the manny as much as Keats does, however. Lulu finds the manny embarrassing, and she's started to make a list of all the crazy things that he does, such as serenading the kids with "La Cucaracha" from the front yard or wearing underwear on his head or meeting the school bus with Belly, dressed as limo drivers. Keats is worried. What if Lulu's "Manny Files" makes his parents fire the manny? Who will teach him how to be interesting then?

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-"Be interesting." These words of advice to bashful third-grader Keats Dalinger come from the latest in a long line of nannies in this novel (Atheneum, 2006) by Christian Burch. While Keats, older sister India, and Mirabelle are fairly easy going, their oldest sister Lulu is a type-A personality who has managed to get rid of all the previous live-in female nannies. Matthew, the latest "Manny," as he prefers to be called, is an unconventional, joyful, artistic, and insightful man. Lulu is not a fan of the Manny and starts compiling a list of all the silly things he does, called "The Manny Files," with the ultimate purpose of getting him fired. With Manny's help, Keats learns to overcome his shyness, deal successfully with bullies, and speak up for what he believes in. Lulu ultimately realizes that Manny has some fine qualities. Older readers may catch the developing relationship between Manny and the Dalingers' Uncle Max. Their relationship is presented gently and is completely accepted by the children who see how happy Uncle Max is with the unique Manny. Narrator Daryl Anderson successfully conveys Manny's delightful silliness, Lulu's difficult personality, and Keats's growing sense of self. While there is nothing subtle about Manny, this story resounds with a number of important themes. It is refreshing to read about a family with a loving way of dealing with problems.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
If the author and publisher had decided to pitch this story as an adult title, it might have been wildly successful. Keats, an amusingly self-deprecating and unbelievably articulate third grader, describes an eventful year in the life of his quirky family and details the outlandish escapades of their (totally fabulous) male nanny-i.e. "the manny." Unfortunately, the book is aimed at readers aged nine to 12 who are unlikely to get many of the very funny jokes and who will likely tire quickly of the arch tone. Always referring to the nanny as "the manny" grows old, while the list of people whose birthdays Keats tallies include many who will be unfamiliar (Harvey Milk, for example). The biggest flaw, however, is the obvious confusion over who is really the star of the story. Here's a hint: It's not Keats. For a more convincing and child-centered story of a boy who happens to be gay, consider James Howe's Totally Joe (2005). Meanwhile, share this one with any fabulous adult friends you may have. (Fiction. 9-12)
From the Publisher
"Christian Burch — David Sedaris meets Mary Poppins — is who we've all been waiting for. He is a smart, warm, and very funny writer who has something new to say about how we all have to find a way to fit into each other's lives. Save yourself a trip back to the bookstore and buy a dozen copies of The Manny Files right now. You'll want to give this book to everyone you care about and everyone who cares about you. This isn't just a wonderful book, it's an important book." — Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

"Meet Matthew, an unconventional male nanny (or manny, as he puts it), whose mantra is 'Be interesting!' Christian Burch's groundbreaking novel is just that, as well as being a wildly funny, large-hearted, and sweet-spirited celebration of the many differences that make our lives so, well, interesting!" — Michael Cart, editor of Rush Hour: Face, A Journal of Contemporary Voices

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Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Manny Files Series
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Manny Files

By Christian Burch


Copyright © 2006 Christian Burch
All right reserved.

ISBN: 141690039X

Chapter 1: . . . And Wished I Were an Only Child

You probably won't remember it later, but my name is Keats. I'm the smallest boy in my class. Actually, it's worse than that. I'm the smallest person in my grade. My third-grade teacher never calls on me for answers because she can't see me. I sit behind a tall girl with red poofy hair.

I wish I had red poofy hair.

My hair is the same color as dead grass in November.

My teacher is named Ms. Grant. Ms. Grant is from the South and says things like "y'all" and "fixin' to." My older sister Lulu was in her class a few years ago. Whenever we have to write a book report or do an art project, Ms. Grant shows us one of Lulu's old assignments as an example. When we made snowflakes to hang from the ceiling, she pulled one out from her closet that was covered in colorful sequins and battery-operated Christmas lights. Ms. Grant said, "Y'all, this was made by Keats's older sister," as she pointed to Lulu's school picture on her bulletin board.

The girl with the red poofy hair raised her hand and asked, "Who's Keats?"

I wasn't looking where I was cutting and cut myself with the scissors.

I had to go to the school nurse to get a Big Bird Band-Aid.

Lulu is president of the seventh-grade class. Mom calls her an overachiever. Lulu hates the sound of some words, like saliva. I made her cry once by writing the words panty hose on her math homework. One Halloween she used mascara to paint her eyebrows together, and put on a colorful dress that Mom bought for her in Mexico. She made a heart out of clay and carried it around. She said that she was Frida Kahlo, the tragic Mexican painter. I dressed up as a television news anchor. Instead of saying "Trick or treat," I said, "Our top story tonight: Children across America dress up in elaborate costumes in hopes of receiving handfuls of treats. More on this story after you give me some candy." Nobody knew what I was supposed to be.

My other older sister, India, usually dresses up as a butterfly for Halloween. In fact, most of the time she looks like a butterfly. She wears bright, rainbow-striped tights and flashy hair bows. She's the only girl at our school who carries a purse instead of a backpack. At the last parent-teacher conference her fourth-grade teacher told Mom and Dad that when she had asked India what she wanted to be when she grew up, India's response was, "I'm just going to get by on my looks." Dad laughed and Mom kicked him underneath the table. Dad thinks that India is going to be a brilliant clothing designer someday.

Dad says the word brilliant a lot.

India has a sign on her bedroom door that says, DO NOT ENTER. THIS MEANS YOU, BELLY. Belly is my three-year-old baby sister, whose real name is Mirabelle. We call her Belly because she hates to wear clothes. One time my mom took Belly and me to the mall to buy me the bow tie that I wanted for my birthday. It was silk with yellow and blue stripes and looked exactly like the one that I had circled in the catalog. When we were inside the mall, Belly screamed with glee and ran to the fountain that was filled with glittering pennies on the bottom. I used to scream and run to the fountain when I was littler, but now I just racewalk. My mom dug through her purse for a penny so that I could toss it in and make a secret wish. While Mom was struggling to find a penny, Belly stripped naked and, before we could stop her, was stealing other people's wishes from the middle of the fountain. The grandmothers who were walking laps around the mall pointed and laughed at my sister's bare bottom bobbing up and down as she looked for pennies.

Mom grabbed Belly from the fountain and said, "You're crazy," like what she had done was cute.

I threw my penny in the fountain and wished I were an only child.

Copyright ©2006 by Christian Burch


Excerpted from The Manny Files by Christian Burch Copyright © 2006 by Christian Burch. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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