Benji and Red couldn't be more different. They aren't friends. They don't even live in the same town. But their fates are entwined. A chance meeting leads the boys to discover that they have more in common than meets the eye. Both of them have encountered a strange presence in the forest, watching them, tracking them. Could the Madman of Piney Woods be real?
In a tale brimming with intrigue and adventure, Christopher Paul Curtis returns to the vibrant world he brought to life in Elijah of Buxton. Here is another novel that will break your heart -- and fill it with joy and laughter, too.
About the Author
Christopher Paul Curtis was awarded both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor for his debut book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963, and won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for his second book, Bud, Not Buddy. Mr. Curtis is also the author of the Golden Kite Award-winning Bucking the Sarge, as well as Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission, and the Newbery Honor book Elijah of Buxton.
Read an Excerpt
From THE MADMAN OF PINEY WOODS
As a cold shiver ran through my body and heat flushed through my face, I quickly lost my courage and forgot all about leaping through the picture window. Even more shamefully, I also forgot about my heroic plan to grab Benji and escape with him.
Knocking over the chair I had been pretending I was going to sit in, all I could manage to do was run toward the kitchen and shout, "Oh, Benji! Please! For the love of God, run!"
I can only imagine the confused look that must have come to Father's face when Benji hollered over his shoulder, "Thank you very much for having me over for supper, sir, the conversation was stimulating, your company was exhilarating, and that was one of the finest meals I've ever had!"
Benji jostled past me as we ran through the kitchen and spilled out onto the back porch.
"Keep running!" I yelled. "Don't listen to anything she says, she's very confused!"
Three blocks from home, just outside of the funeral parlour I grabbed the back of Benji's jacket and pulled him to a stop. I leaned over, put my hands on my knees, and gasped to him, "I'm fairly certain we're safe. I don't think she can run this far."
"You don't think who can run this far? Who are we running from?"
"My mother's mother."
"Your grandmother? We're running like this from your grandmother?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Two boys from different cultures learn that their lives can share the same feelings of joy, hardship, love, and loss. Benji and Red appear different on the surface. Benji is from a free Black family that still can recall the outrages of slavery. Red is from an Irish family that knew the suffering of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland. Both families moved to Canada to start new lives. Benji loves the forest and spends as much time as he can surrounded by nature. Red is out of place in the woods, more of a townie. Benji loves the power of words and wants to be a newspaper man. Red is a believer in facts and wants to be a scientist. Little do they know that their shared meeting with the Wild Man of Piney Woods will teach them, and perhaps us, the meaning of friendship and love. This is a deeply moving story. It's powerful words reach into your heart and soul. Love, hate, prejudice, and sorrow, each in their own way, sweep the reader through the pages of this excellent book. I think some of the material, most notably the descriptions of war and it's savagery, may be too harsh for some readers in the suggested age group, 8-12. The book overall can be an excellent learning tool for these and older readers. Book provided for review by Scholastic Inc.
The Madman of Piney Woods is a book for anyone who is into adventure and mystery. It is the companion book to the Newberry award winning book “Elijah of Buxton.” This book takes place in a real place called Buxton, Canada. Follow the adventures of Red and Benji, two boys from different towns, who meet by chance and discover they both have heard stories of a “madman” living in the woods. They go on a mission to find out if there really is a madman of Piney Woods as the legends tell. The old folks of Buxton describe the madman as if he is the boogeyman, who “ate any children who weren’t in bed when they were supposed to be.” The time period is after the Civil War, so they had no modern technology to assist them in their quest for the truth. I find it interesting to see what they did for fun in that time period without today’s entertainment. Do they find a madman? Or does the legend continue? Find out in The Madman of Piney Woods. If you are someone who is up for a spooky mystery, this is the book for you. Being a fairly long book, it is good for ages 12 and up. Reviewed by Cole P., age 12, Permian Basin Mensa
Got back on top of pinefrost and cotinued to hump faster.
Gasped slighty meowing,"I'll live." Sh then starts up moaning again.