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Children's Literature Reviews
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Crazy lady!
by Jane Leslie Conly.
New York : Harper/Collins, c1993.
180 p. ; 22 cm.


"A Laura Geringer book."
As he tries to come to terms with his mother's death, Vernon finds solace in his growing relationship with the neighborhood outcasts, an alcoholic and her retarded son.

Best Books:

Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 1997 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Best Books for Young Adults, 1994 ; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
Booklist Book Review Stars, May 15, 1993 ; American Library Association; United States
Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 1993 ; American Library Association; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Notable Children's Books, 1994 ; Association for Library Service to Children; United States
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education; California
School Library Journal: Best Books for Young Adults, 1993 ; Cahners; United States
Young Adults' Choices, 1995 ; International Reading Association; United States

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

John Newbery Medal, 1994 Honor Book United States

State and Provincial Reading Lists:

California Young Reader Medal, 1996 ; Nominee; Middle School/Junior High; California
Great Stone Face Award, 1994-1995 ; Nominee; New Hampshire
Great Stone Face Award, 1995-1996 ; Nominee; New Hampshire
Iowa Children's Choice Award, 1996-1997 ; Nominee; Iowa
Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 1995 ; Nominee; Kentucky
Lone Star Reading List, 1995-1996 ; Texas
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, 1996 ; Nominee; Illinois
Virginia State Young Readers' Award, 1997 ; Nominee; Middle School Level, Grades 6-9; Virginia
Voice of Youth Award, 2001-2002 ; Nominee; 5th and 6th Grade; Illinois
Young Adult Reading Program, 1996 ; Grades 7-12; South Dakota

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 3.8
Accelerated Reader Points 5
Accelerated Vocabulary, Literacy Skills

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 5
Title Point Value 10
Lexile Measure 570


Hazel Rochman (Booklist, May 15, 1993 (Vol. 89, No. 18))
Growing out of a tangle of love and laughter and grief, this story transcends formula. Right up until the very last line, the drama is in the characters, their sadness and their surprise. The setting is grittily authentic: a poor city neighborhood of brick rowhouses on the edge of a slum. The story's told in the unaffected voice of Vernon Dibbs, a big, clunky kid who's failing seventh grade. He befriends Maxine Flooter--the neighborhood "crazy lady," who walks down the street when she's drunk, hollering and cursing--and he helps her care for her tall, skinny, severely disabled teenage son, Ronald. It's Maxine's love for her son that moves Vernon most, since he's grieving for his mother, who died three years earlier from a stroke at her factory sewing machine, the only person who had helped him believe he was special. His father tries, but he can barely manage to keep the home going for Vernon and his brothers and sisters. All the characters (except for an idealized, all-wise teacher) are drawn with compassionate realism and restraint; they are flawed and struggling, both comic and weary. There are heartbreaking scenes: when Vernon visits Maxine in jail; when drunk Maxine publicly humiliates Vernon, shouting out that he's dumb; when Vernon takes Ronald shopping for sneakers; when Ronald says his first word ever; when Vernon and his father finally share their grief. Vernon can't bear to see Maxine's failing struggle to keep a home together for Ronald. In the parting scene, when Vernon has to let Ronald go, the physical wrenching is a metaphor for all that's lost. Category: Middle Readers. 1993, HarperCollins/Laura Geringer, $13 and $12.89. Gr. 5-8. Starred Review.

Mary Sue Preissner (Children's Literature)
Once again, an adolescent is having trying times. Vernon is having difficulties in school. He doesn't want to cause his dad any grief, but he wants to fit in with the rest of the guys. This is a tall order for a preteen. He strikes a balance in hanging with the guys, keeping his grades up, and doing selfless acts of kindness. Vernon's internal emotions, needs and desires combine with the story of a community, long ignored, coming together. There are some powerful issues in this book --alcohol abuse, mental retardation, foster homes, community service--all things that today's adolescents need to be aware of. Newbery Honor Book. 1993, HarperCollins, $13.89 and $3.95. Ages 10 up.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1993)
Vernon Dibbs is finding junior high tough. The grades that come so easily to others elude him, despite earnest struggles and extra hours of study; he feels he lost the one person who considered him in any way special when his mother suddenly passed away two years ago. Then acquaintance with alcoholic Maxine and her retarded son Ronald leads to some tutoring work, and soon he is also involved in a money-making scheme to send Ronald to the Special Olympics; the solutions to Vernon's problems seem to be within his grasp, and his confidence soars. If the lesson that kindness begets kindness needs to be repeated, this book is all heart; its bittersweet best moment comes when Maxine, aware of her limitations, parts with Ronald so that he can receive better care. A quiet, winning story of a boy and his community making small gains through large efforts. 1993, HarperCollins, $13.00; PLB $12.89. © 1993 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Roger Sutton (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August 1993 (Vol. 46, No. 11))
The "Crazy Lady" of the title is narrator Vernon's raucous alcoholic neighbor Maxine, who curses the taunting neighborhood kids as she walks down the street with her retarded son Ronald. Prompted-pushed-by another neighbor, Miss Annie, who's been tutoring him in reading and grammar, Vernon takes an interest in Maxine and Ronald, cleaning their yard and watching out for Ronald so Maxine can go get food stamps. It becomes an unlikely but entirely convincing friendship. Drunk, Maxine is venomous and desperate; sober, she's a pretty good mother and not a bad friend: it was she who sent Vernon to Miss Annie in the first place. In its tone and atmosphere, the book is somewhat reminiscent of Spinelli's Maniac Magee, set in a rotting urban landscape where respect, loyalty, and family bonds nevertheless manage to thrive. While a heartwarmer, the story is never sentimental and comes by its emotional effects honestly. Maxine does not reform; in fact, her bravest act comes at the end when she sends Ronald to live with some relatives in the country. Vernon's narration, unfolded in retrospect two years after Ronald has gone, is fast and blunt, and the conversations are lively and true. He'll make kids care about Ronald and Maxine almost as much as they'll care about him. R--Recommended. (c) Copyright 1993, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1993, Geringer/HarperCollins, 180p, $12.89 and $13.00. Grades 5-8.


Interpersonal relations--Fiction.
People with mental disabilities Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.C761846 Cr 1993
92018348 [Fic]
0060213574 : $13.00 ($17.50 Can.)
0060213604 (lib. bdg.)
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