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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 at home, it always feels like no one ever remembers him. His sisters are e 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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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 e 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?

30 review for The Manny Files

  1. 4 out of 5

    ☆ Todd

    Well, I kept waiting for the tone of the story to change into something resembling an actual plot, some "goal" that the book was trying to achieve, but it never arrived. Instead, this is one anecdotal scene after another (after another, after another), a lot of which were truly funny. BUT... I was hoping for a totally different type of story than this one was delivering, maybe with alternating points of view from the Keats AND the manny. Instead, the entire story seems to have been told from 3rd gra Well, I kept waiting for the tone of the story to change into something resembling an actual plot, some "goal" that the book was trying to achieve, but it never arrived. Instead, this is one anecdotal scene after another (after another, after another), a lot of which were truly funny. BUT... I was hoping for a totally different type of story than this one was delivering, maybe with alternating points of view from the Keats AND the manny. Instead, the entire story seems to have been told from 3rd grader Keats' POV. I love kids but I really don't need 300 pages of an 8 y.o. kid's perspective , so I'm putting it down at 20% in for now. I may pick it up again later, but I'm guessing probably not. It's definitely not a romance, which is my personal reading preference. No rating, as I didn't finish the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I wrote this so of course I love it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    I'm not sure who this book is written for-- it's about a third grader, but it's long, the language is difficult, and there are oblique (to a child) references to the Manny being gay that don't come out until the final scene, when he kisses the kids' uncle-- this would be confusing for a child young enough to want to read about a third grader. Keats is too young (in physical and mental age) to appeal to teens. He likes fancy clothes and opera music and is made fun of at school for wearing babyish I'm not sure who this book is written for-- it's about a third grader, but it's long, the language is difficult, and there are oblique (to a child) references to the Manny being gay that don't come out until the final scene, when he kisses the kids' uncle-- this would be confusing for a child young enough to want to read about a third grader. Keats is too young (in physical and mental age) to appeal to teens. He likes fancy clothes and opera music and is made fun of at school for wearing babyish underwear (so there are hints of Keats being gay, too, but it isn't addressed.) The book got good reviews, but I don't see it having much of an audience, and there was also a total lack of plot. It was just a series of anecdotes, and I'm surprised I even finished listening to it. So many better LGBT/humorous/family books out there!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    This is a cute story about Keats and his family’s adventure with their Manny (Male Nanny). The story is mainly about Keats who struggles with his self confidence. When they get a new nanny Keats loves his kindness, carefree spirit and bold creativity. Throughout the course of their relationship the Manny helps Keats get over some of these fears while learning to garner respect from other people with class and integrity. The book is well written and filled with many lively moments. I also appreci This is a cute story about Keats and his family’s adventure with their Manny (Male Nanny). The story is mainly about Keats who struggles with his self confidence. When they get a new nanny Keats loves his kindness, carefree spirit and bold creativity. Throughout the course of their relationship the Manny helps Keats get over some of these fears while learning to garner respect from other people with class and integrity. The book is well written and filled with many lively moments. I also appreciate the books more tender moments like then the family secretly creates a surprise garden for their ailing grandmother who they are taking care of. At other times the book seems too long. The text is close to 400 pages and although there are many, many funny telling of the families activities they can get a little tiresome as they don't always move the storyline along. We also find out at the end of the book (literally on the last page) that the Manny is homosexual and in a happy relationship with Keats uncle. This ending was sort of a letdown for me because the author already shows the reader (throughout the story) that the Manny is homosexual and that he is dating Keats Uncle. Their relationship is certainly a secondary story within the larger one but I think ending the story like that detracted from the Manny’s relationship with Keats and the way he helped Keats mature into a more self assured young man. The Manny’s friendship with Keats was the best part of the story! I hoped the story would end on that high note, but oh well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    As told by a perceptive young boy who feels overshadowed by his older sisters, Keats finds a role model in the new charismatic and eccentric "male nanny" his parents hire. This book really surprised me! I guess I was expecting it to be a little corny, but I actually found it light, fresh and inspiring. The audiobook was easy to listen to and the story was well thought-out and interesting. As told by a perceptive young boy who feels overshadowed by his older sisters, Keats finds a role model in the new charismatic and eccentric "male nanny" his parents hire. This book really surprised me! I guess I was expecting it to be a little corny, but I actually found it light, fresh and inspiring. The audiobook was easy to listen to and the story was well thought-out and interesting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This is a really sweet story about the entrance of a male nanny (the Manny) into the life of a family. He is entertaining, eccentric, eternally patient and becomes more of a family member than an employee. He and the kids' uncle become instant friends and eventually it becomes clear that they are falling in love. I like that the gayness of the Manny does not cause any dissonance: it is a subtext and a natural part of the story. The storyteller, Keats, who is a middle-school, middle child--sandwi This is a really sweet story about the entrance of a male nanny (the Manny) into the life of a family. He is entertaining, eccentric, eternally patient and becomes more of a family member than an employee. He and the kids' uncle become instant friends and eventually it becomes clear that they are falling in love. I like that the gayness of the Manny does not cause any dissonance: it is a subtext and a natural part of the story. The storyteller, Keats, who is a middle-school, middle child--sandwiched between sisters, identifies so strongly with the Manny that there is the possibility that Keats is gay--but the question is as inconsequential, as it should be for a boy his age. The Manny makes everything a fun adventure: conducting picnics under tables and on rooftops, spelling words with pancakes, chasing the school bus and barking at it with the dogs, dressing up in various outfits to meet the kids at the bus. This stuff mortifies Keats' eldest sister Lulu, a tween who keeps a record of the Manny's antics in her "Manny Files". The main conflict is about whether Lulu will get the Manny fired. It is pretty obvious that he is beloved and becoming a permanent family fixture, but Keats sees anyone older--including Lulu--as more powerful than himself and fears Lulu might win the struggle. The parents handle the conflict in a wise way that gave me some ideas about handling family drama. With help from the Manny, Keats overcomes a lot of fears, learns to have compassion for a bully and triumphs in a spelling bee. I like this boy so much better than the boy in Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Like Wimpy Kid it is diary/timeline driven, stringing together anecdotes in the year of a family life. Keats is the narrator and he frequently segues to cute memories, often via a word he recently learned so it is educational without being tedious. My 9 year old boy and 12 year old girl enjoyed it equally. Our family listened to it on CD during long drives and laughed a lot, rerunning passages that one of us had missed. I am not sure I would have enjoyed reading it as much as listening to it, since it is not necessarily a "page turner". I really loved the voice of the CD reader as well. I just learned from the author's Goodreads page that there is a Manny Files 2 and can't wait to enjoy it with my family!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kischka

    Found this on my library's free audio-book site under LGBTQ interest. After listening to the whole thing, I thought, hmmm... there really wasn't anything adult about that book. Maybe my kids would like it. It was only after investigating that I realized the book actually WAS a kids book. Anyway, I did enjoy the book, but I didn't like the person who read the audiobook. I find it disconcerting when a book in which the narrator is a child is read by an adult. There are plenty of kids out there who Found this on my library's free audio-book site under LGBTQ interest. After listening to the whole thing, I thought, hmmm... there really wasn't anything adult about that book. Maybe my kids would like it. It was only after investigating that I realized the book actually WAS a kids book. Anyway, I did enjoy the book, but I didn't like the person who read the audiobook. I find it disconcerting when a book in which the narrator is a child is read by an adult. There are plenty of kids out there who can read quite well. Anyway, this book does a nice job of addressing topics of bullying, sensitive boys, and sibling relationships in a relateable, interesting story. Fun for kids and adults alike.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Greenglasses

    THE MANNY FILES WAS SO FUNNY AND LAUGHY (YES IT IS NOW A WORD) AND SURPRISIngLY SURPRISINg! ( at somepoints becaus the big "surprise" was really really really predictably not surprising. like at all. THE MANNY FILES WAS SO FUNNY AND LAUGHY (YES IT IS NOW A WORD) AND SURPRISIngLY SURPRISINg! ( at somepoints becaus the big "surprise" was really really really predictably not surprising. like at all.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brigitta

    I have been looking forward to The Many Files for some years now, and it was worth the wait for so many reasons: first and foremost, when the second-hand book that I had bought online arrived, it turned out to be a signed copy! Don’t worry, Mr Burch, I will take very good care of it now and will treasure it forever. I was in bed with the flu when I started reading this novel, which proved to be a really lucky turn of events, because I could spend the whole day doing nothing but feeling sorry for I have been looking forward to The Many Files for some years now, and it was worth the wait for so many reasons: first and foremost, when the second-hand book that I had bought online arrived, it turned out to be a signed copy! Don’t worry, Mr Burch, I will take very good care of it now and will treasure it forever. I was in bed with the flu when I started reading this novel, which proved to be a really lucky turn of events, because I could spend the whole day doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself and laughing at Keats’ narrative (who, incidentally, I imagine as a young David Sedaris with all his awkwardness and mannerisms), and I did feel a bit like having a Manny of my own who would bring me cups of tea and pearls of wisdom. (Although I no longer need to be told to be interesting, because I already am interesting enough, thank you vey much.) It is such a heart-warming story, where we can see Keats gain confidence and find himself with the help of the Manny, and I’m not embarrassed to admit that I shed the occasional tear while reading all about it. Keats’ awesomely supportive and kind family also deserves major kudos, even if they have somewhat questionable taste in baby names. I found the book especially touching as I have a young person in my life whom I try to support and guide to the best of my abilities, and the Manny’s advice and gentle guidance really resonated with me. On this note, however, I feel that the only weakness of this book is that while it is aimed at the younger reader, it’s the adults (or at least older readers) who get more out of it, especially humour-wise, and I think quite a few of the cultural references are lost on the 10-12 years old readers. (But I’d be more than happy to be mistaken on this point.) All in all, I’m so happy that I finally read The Many Files and that I read it now, it warmed my heart and made me laugh, and that’s perfectly enough for me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Langford

    This book was a fun, quick read. It's meant for probably pre-teen, or even younger, but there are some adult themes in the book that parents may find they are uncomfortable with their children reading about. On that note, it is a good conversation starter for parnets and children (or an internal conversation starter for the adult reader) about all of the different types of adult relationships and roles that adults play in the lives of children. I think this book presents a wonderfully well-round This book was a fun, quick read. It's meant for probably pre-teen, or even younger, but there are some adult themes in the book that parents may find they are uncomfortable with their children reading about. On that note, it is a good conversation starter for parnets and children (or an internal conversation starter for the adult reader) about all of the different types of adult relationships and roles that adults play in the lives of children. I think this book presents a wonderfully well-rounded family who is accepting and loving. I would love to have someone like the Manny in my life, or in my children's lives. He is funny, memorable, loveable, quirky, strong, and a non-stereotype. This book isn't for everyone. But if you are tolerant and non-judgemental you will probably love it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kennedy

    A cute and endearing story that works on two levels as the reader will be more aware of the subtext than the young narrator. It kind of reminds me of the hypercolour reality of the Harriet the Spy film, where everything is fun and vibrant and everything is wonderful. That's not to say that there isn't some seriousness and poignancy drifting in from time to time, but this book is just working very hard to charm the pants off you. And it succeeds. A cute and endearing story that works on two levels as the reader will be more aware of the subtext than the young narrator. It kind of reminds me of the hypercolour reality of the Harriet the Spy film, where everything is fun and vibrant and everything is wonderful. That's not to say that there isn't some seriousness and poignancy drifting in from time to time, but this book is just working very hard to charm the pants off you. And it succeeds.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ugh. Annoyed as heck by this book right now. Call me naive, but I didn't think this book geared toward 9-12 year olds (as listed on the inside book jacket) would have a theme of the wonder of homosexuality in it, and I'm a little irritated that it wasn't obvious until I had spent a substantial amount of time in it. And then... when I searched the wisdom of the interwebs to see if what I was suspecting was correct, it's listed as young adult fiction? Since when are 9-12 year olds young adults? Tho Ugh. Annoyed as heck by this book right now. Call me naive, but I didn't think this book geared toward 9-12 year olds (as listed on the inside book jacket) would have a theme of the wonder of homosexuality in it, and I'm a little irritated that it wasn't obvious until I had spent a substantial amount of time in it. And then... when I searched the wisdom of the interwebs to see if what I was suspecting was correct, it's listed as young adult fiction? Since when are 9-12 year olds young adults? Those are pre-adolescents! Whatever. It's fine for a lot of people, but there is much, much better literature out there than this. Truth be told, I only read as far as I did because I'd had it too long and needed it gone, it was a fast read, and I was waiting to see if the character of Lulu would come around to the manny. Turns out, I guess I'm Lulu. What's funny about this is that I thought of it last night when I couldn't sleep. I was thinking about how long I've had it and that I should read it and return it, finally. When I got out of bed to get it, I found the Frontier boarding pass from April of 2011 still in it - when I borrowed it from KB. Did she recommend it as a good book? I can't remember. Oh well. Mostly I'm annoyed that I wasted this amount of time on it and that I kept it this long (even moving it 1000+ miles with me to California.) Enough said, I guess.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Givens

    This book just made me so happy. Every time I picked it up, I was smiling the whole time, and it even made me laugh out loud, which books rarely manage. It's sweet and joyful, but also includes some of the real frustration children experience when so much of life is out of their control. It has casual, gentle queerness, and most importantly a little boy who's implied to be queer and a positive relationship with an older role model. So many books shy away from that, but here it's perfectly natura This book just made me so happy. Every time I picked it up, I was smiling the whole time, and it even made me laugh out loud, which books rarely manage. It's sweet and joyful, but also includes some of the real frustration children experience when so much of life is out of their control. It has casual, gentle queerness, and most importantly a little boy who's implied to be queer and a positive relationship with an older role model. So many books shy away from that, but here it's perfectly natural -- all about how the boy feels safe and happy with the manny, about who he likes to be around, what he wants to be like, without it having to be about a crush or anything like that. Of course Keats is more coherent than the average 8-year-old, most of them aren't writing novels, but he still feels like a real kid, one who doesn't understand references but wants to act like an adult, who's a good kid and smart but still gets petty. It's just really warm and sweet, and the lack of plot is perfect, just enough to keep you into it but not enough to be stressful. I'll be rereading this one for sure next time I need a break and a pick-me-up. Full review: https://hannahgivens.wordpress.com/20...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Very cute/fun/upbeat coming-of-age story about Keats, a young boy, who wears Scooby Doo underwear, fashionable attire, has glasses, very few friends, is picked on by a bully, but has a very good family life: a cool dad, a loving mom, a 13 year old whiny mean-spirited sister, Lulu, a 11 year old fashion savvy sister, India, a 3 year old sister, Belly, a fun loving Grandmother, the traveler Uncle Max, and the biggest impact on the family, the MANNY. Watch as Keats finds his own inspiration and lea Very cute/fun/upbeat coming-of-age story about Keats, a young boy, who wears Scooby Doo underwear, fashionable attire, has glasses, very few friends, is picked on by a bully, but has a very good family life: a cool dad, a loving mom, a 13 year old whiny mean-spirited sister, Lulu, a 11 year old fashion savvy sister, India, a 3 year old sister, Belly, a fun loving Grandmother, the traveler Uncle Max, and the biggest impact on the family, the MANNY. Watch as Keats finds his own inspiration and learns life lessons from the Manny in regards to school, his siblings, friends, and family life. Though a lot of the pop-culture references and humor make this book more geared toward adults, its equally a lot of fun. There are a few moments, in terms of the bullying, and a family situation, that hit very close to home for me, too close, but the book itself is really cute from Keats' internal perspective. Burch does a great job of capturing all of the family's emotions and personalities, as well as the super cool fun free easy-going personality of the Manny!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    A 3rd grader named Keats lives in a busy family that has employed many nannies. None of them have worked out until they meet the Manny. The Manny is full of fun and creativity and is a new light in the household for everyone except oldest sister Lulu. She begins keeping a log of all the unconventional and (to her) embarrassing occurrences she can find to build up a case against keeping the Manny. Our main man Keats loves the Manny and does not want to lose him. While I thought this book was very A 3rd grader named Keats lives in a busy family that has employed many nannies. None of them have worked out until they meet the Manny. The Manny is full of fun and creativity and is a new light in the household for everyone except oldest sister Lulu. She begins keeping a log of all the unconventional and (to her) embarrassing occurrences she can find to build up a case against keeping the Manny. Our main man Keats loves the Manny and does not want to lose him. While I thought this book was very entertaining as an adult (who wouldn't want to have the Manny brighten up their life?) I think it would be confusing for a child Keats age. With my adult perspective I can clearly see that the Manny and Uncle Max are a couple. Keats is clueless, so either make it more clear by making Keats older or leave that relationship out of the book. It would still be a really great read and less confusing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Lynne

    At the outset of the book I thought I was going to only give it about 3 stars or so because it is a children's story and went in under the impression that it would be too predictable. This book is such a fun, and surprisingly mature read! It was really fun to have narrated to me, with some minor changes :'D I'm so ready to read the follow up book to learn what happens next with the manny! In today's culture the end may not be as much as a surprise as when the novel was written, but it was still gre At the outset of the book I thought I was going to only give it about 3 stars or so because it is a children's story and went in under the impression that it would be too predictable. This book is such a fun, and surprisingly mature read! It was really fun to have narrated to me, with some minor changes :'D I'm so ready to read the follow up book to learn what happens next with the manny! In today's culture the end may not be as much as a surprise as when the novel was written, but it was still great to be back in the mind of a third-grader, even if just for a week!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    The style of the writing is a bit frustrating as it doesn’t have a great flow, often feeling as if a child is whining. However, the growth of the main character and the discovery of the truth of the manny works well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lori S.

    A sweet look through the eyes of Keats, a boy who considers himself invisible, until "The Manny" enters his and his four sisters' lives, bringing life and laughter into their quiet world. A sweet look through the eyes of Keats, a boy who considers himself invisible, until "The Manny" enters his and his four sisters' lives, bringing life and laughter into their quiet world.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Clever writing. Fun story. Subtle look at gender roles.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bailey

    Incredible. Hilarious, smart, delicate. Not one word wasted. I’m in awe and so happy this book came into my life.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Absolutely LOVE this male nanny. Humorous, patient, encouraging. Recommend with caution: brief gay moment at end, but not involving the children in the story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Fultz

    One of the original titles for the CCS/PFLAG Dayton Rainbow Reading project.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Keri Payton

    (From my blog: Quill Café) In accordance with the FTC, I would like to disclose that I purchased this book. The opinions expressed are mine and no monetary compensation was offered to me by the author or publisher. Keats is the only boy among four children, left alone when the various nannies shared fun times with his sisters. That all changes when his mom introduces their new nanny - the manny! The manny shows Keats how to be yourself, deal with bullies and have fun. Not everyone is fond of the man (From my blog: Quill Café) In accordance with the FTC, I would like to disclose that I purchased this book. The opinions expressed are mine and no monetary compensation was offered to me by the author or publisher. Keats is the only boy among four children, left alone when the various nannies shared fun times with his sisters. That all changes when his mom introduces their new nanny - the manny! The manny shows Keats how to be yourself, deal with bullies and have fun. Not everyone is fond of the manny, however. Keats' oldest sister, Lulu, is outraged by the manny's bizarre activities and embarrassing public displays. Convinced that he will scar her for life, she compiles The Manny Files, to exploit the manny's ways to her parents and get him fired. With this looming threat, Keats must stand up to Lulu and find a way to save the manny. The Manny Files is a ride of laughter and sentiment. The characters are some of the strongest and most interesting I have come across. Keats is a wonderful main character and narrator. He is a little low on self-esteem in the beginning and feels pushed aside but he seizes the opportunity to be who he wants to be and have fun. I love how he idolizes the manny. One of the things I liked most about the novel being narrated from Keats' perspective was that his young age (nine going on ten) meant that he perceived things in different ways and didn't always understand what was going on, which added a great deal of humour. The manny said that if their "ensembles" matched, it would be more convenient if Lulu decided to pull him onstage for a tap-dancing, piano-playing encore. Dad said that the manny had a brilliant sense of humor. Lulu said he was "de-minted," but I thought his breath smelled fine. Keats' sisters are all wonderful in their own ways. His second oldest sister, India, is a free spirit with wisdom and flair. His three year old sister, Belly, is a reminder of that time when you were little and could be free - and possibly nude - without caring who thought or said what about you. Lulu is that early-teen girl who hasn't quite grasped what angst is but gives it her best whirl. Her quips about the manny could be very clever and I was able to relate to her over-dramatic nature. The adults in Keats' life are not shadows in the background. Despite the fact that they have a nanny, both work and are wealthy, his parents have a very active role in their children's lives. They are supportive and well-grounded to the point where their humour still thrives at the surface. Keats' Uncle Max has a funny bone to match the manny's, although his jokes often get Keats into trouble at school. The relationship between Keats and his Grandma is touching but not without pizazz. Then, of course, there is the manny. His character was the magnet that drew me to this book. There was never a dull moment with the manny. He is fantastical, imaginative and very human. The manny is the kind of mentor that Keats needs and the reader should want. The Manny Files is targeted at readers ages 8-12. More like ages 8-awesome if you ask me. I was only part-way through this book when I started from the beginning and read the whole thing aloud to my mum who also enjoyed it. This book left me feeling imaginative and in full power to be free and be myself...though perhaps not strip in public, like Belly. That could get me arrested. The day I finished reading The Manny Files, I went out and bought the sequel, 'Hit the Road, Manny,' which I hadn't known existed when I first started reading The Manny Files. It was just as enjoyable as the first installment. Here's hoping that Christian Burch has more on the way! The Manny Files is a delightful read that I would recommend to anyone who wants to share in Keats' adventures and the manny's mantra: Be Interesting.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jon Forsyth

    I hate clowns. With their fake, painted-on smiles, lowest common denominator humor, and perverse, baby-like outfits and oversized shoes, they creep me out. But if anyone could rehabilitate at least the concept of clown for me, it would the Manny, the eponymous gay man-nanny character in this book. The unabashed joy he takes in wearing outrageous costumes, surprising the people he loves in order to make them laugh or snap out of a bad mood, and the way he does it all with little or no heed paid t I hate clowns. With their fake, painted-on smiles, lowest common denominator humor, and perverse, baby-like outfits and oversized shoes, they creep me out. But if anyone could rehabilitate at least the concept of clown for me, it would the Manny, the eponymous gay man-nanny character in this book. The unabashed joy he takes in wearing outrageous costumes, surprising the people he loves in order to make them laugh or snap out of a bad mood, and the way he does it all with little or no heed paid to what anyone might think of him – all of these qualities make him a clown of the best sort. Yes, the Manny could just be the Platonic Ideal of the Clown. The Manny Files is actually the first book in what I desperately hope will be a series, but for now is a duet. In some ways I wish I had read them in order. The Manny Files introduces the characters so wonderfully and provides backstory on them that would have helped me hit the road running (as it were) with book two. Still, even read out of sequence, both books were a delight. The storyline is fairly simple. A somewhat wacky, slightly chaotic family of six with a long history of failed female nannies hires the Manny to take care of the kids on weekdays while the parents work. Keats, the narrator and protagonist of the story, is in third grade, very smart, has a wonderful sense of humor and style, and is a bit of a misfit at school (in my opinion, not so subtle code for “could very well grow up to be gay”). His three sisters (Belly, India and Lulu) are funny, sassy, and annoying, in that order. Only control-freak Lulu resists falling in love with the Manny’s winning ways. She even keeps a running catalog of all his “misdeeds” (her “Manny Files”) in the hopes of getting him fired. What makes the story such a treat to read is the sweet interplay between Manny and the kids, especially Keats. In a typical episode, the parents go on a romantic Mexican vacation, leaving the Manny in charge. On the first day of their parents’ absence, Keats, India and Lulu ride the school bus home and find a surprise waiting for them at their stop. The manny is wearing a big sombrero and blasting “The Mexican Hat Dance” on a boom box. Next to him stands little toddler Belly, dressed in a chihuahua costume. Keats and India are enchanted, Lulu is appalled and tries to pretend it’s not her stop. In many ways the book is litany of increasingly far-fetched (but wonderful) Mary-Poppins-on-Steroids episodes like this one, but the narrative includes two sub-plots that keep it grounded: the increasing frailty and illness of their feisty grandmother and the budding relationship between the Manny and Uncle Max. These elements of the story add a touching counterpoint to the goofy fun of the Manny’s escapades. This book is a refreshingly new take on the positive attributes that are so often associated with gay men – wit, whimsy, flair, and irreverence. What is so unique here is that the Manny lavishes his talents with great success not only on adults, but on kids – in essence demonstrating that these qualities can make for powerful parenting. The Manny makes the most mundane things absolutely fabulous and magical – and what kid wouldn’t be charmed by that? I wish that I had been able to read this book when I was Keats’ age. I also wish that I had read this book later in the year so it would sound more impressive when I say that it is my Favorite Book of 2011. But so far, it has definitely earned that distinction, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it retained that title come December.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Katz

    The Manny Files by Christian Burch is a delightful middle-school adventure that brings the feels big time. Nine-year-old Keats has two older sisters and one younger one. With that many kids in the family, their parents regularly hire nannies to take care of them. Keats hasn't enjoyed this much. The always-female nannies dote on his sisters and ignore him. So when their newest nanny is a man—or Manny, as he insists they call him—he's pretty excited. Even more so when the Manny brings adventure to The Manny Files by Christian Burch is a delightful middle-school adventure that brings the feels big time. Nine-year-old Keats has two older sisters and one younger one. With that many kids in the family, their parents regularly hire nannies to take care of them. Keats hasn't enjoyed this much. The always-female nannies dote on his sisters and ignore him. So when their newest nanny is a man—or Manny, as he insists they call him—he's pretty excited. Even more so when the Manny brings adventure to them every day! The Manny's personal motto is "be interesting" and he makes every day fun for Keats by playing loud 80s music, actually eating off the floor if it's "so clean you can eat off it", or wearing funny costumes. But Lulu, Keats' preteen sister, is embarrassed by these hijinks and keeps a book of 'evidence' of why she thinks that the Manny isn't a good babysitter. Keats has every reason to worry that she'll take it to their parents to get the Manny fired! The Manny Files is really a fun read. The author has a knack for writing from a child's perspective; the digressions in the text feel very genuine to conversations with children that age, but never goes so far away that it makes the narrative confusing. Keats' feelings are genuine and relatable, from being bullied to being afraid to go off the high jump and beyond. His reactions are shown instead of told, and Keats feels like a very genuine person. This book is often laugh-out-loud funny even to the adult reader, and I frequently paused to read bits out loud to my fiancee. But that doesn't make it irreverent. The serious moments are treated with gravity by both Keats and the narrator, and there was a part in the book—I won't spoil you—where I had to put my kindle down and take a ten minute break because I'd started to cry. You care about Keats, but you care about the adults in his life too, and his siblings, and of course the Manny. I had been a little worried before starting about reading a book with a gay character who's most defined by his exuberance and flamboyance, but the book solved my doubts. The Manny is a real person, performing his job which involves being larger than life, but his relationship with Uncle Max (which is hardly a secret to the adult readers when you read them together) is genuine, and we see hints of old hurts and tired experiences in his own life that inform how he reacts to the kids' experiences. I was very interested in Keats' changing relationship with his bully, and how we got to see Keats develop empathy. I'm often also wary of the "the bully has a hard life and you just need to be nice to them" stories (as someone who was bullied as a kid myself), but this particular bully's moods and neediness did come through loud and clear. I know there's a sequel and I'm looking forward to reading it soon. I hope too that there will be more books in this series even before I get to read Hit the Road, Manny; that's how charmed I was by this story!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Manda

    There's such a sweetness and joyful innocence to this story, I couldn't help but love it. I felt that Burch captured the voice of a third-grade boy very well - it was full of youthfulness, earnestness and all the hopefulness, naivety, hurt and slight rambling that made it feel real, yet it was still enjoyable for an older reader. Keats is smart and observant, yet he doesn't always fully understand the actions and motivations of the people around him, and so the reader is given many glimpses that There's such a sweetness and joyful innocence to this story, I couldn't help but love it. I felt that Burch captured the voice of a third-grade boy very well - it was full of youthfulness, earnestness and all the hopefulness, naivety, hurt and slight rambling that made it feel real, yet it was still enjoyable for an older reader. Keats is smart and observant, yet he doesn't always fully understand the actions and motivations of the people around him, and so the reader is given many glimpses that give us a better picture of what's going on. The characters all come to life, and it seemed like everyone had a bit of a crazy streak to them, but they always felt like real people to me. Keats is the second-youngest in the family and the only boy to three sisters. He struggles with self-confidence, bullying, being overshadowed by his "perfect" older sister Lulu, and some general middle-child angst of always being bested and overlooked. When the Manny arrives, it's like a bit of magic gets slowly sprinkled into his life. One point that I want to make a note of is that even at the end of the book, there exists a bit of an enigma around Manny. We constantly see his positive, humourous, and mischievous personality, yet we only get glimpses of his more serious side (one exception being a moment when he's giving advice to Lulu). We don't even find out his full name, him being referred to as "the Manny" by Keats and his siblings for the entirety of the book. I can understand this, being that The Manny Files is narrated by Keats, and we can be sure that Manny ensures that he is a constant positive role model whenever he is with the Dalinger kids, but I kind of wish that I could see more sides of him. Manny retains a slight magical aspect with his constant positive outlook and ability to make almost any situation better with a word, a joke, a game, or a piece of advice. Overall, I loved this book. It had interesting and loveable characters, a relatable protagonist, laugh-out-loud moments, heartbreaking moments and just general put-a-smile-on-your-face-ness.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Arminzerella

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Keats Dalinger has had many nannies over the years, but none as wonderful as Matthew – the manny – who understands him as no one else can. The manny is funny, goofy, knowledgeable, and energetic. Two of his siblings would agree, but Lulu – the eldest – can’t STAND the manny, and begins keeping a log of all of his transgressions, which she names, “The Manny Files.” Despite Lulu’s attempts to get the manny fired, he manages to stick around and offer sage advice, fashion tips, and guidance in his c Keats Dalinger has had many nannies over the years, but none as wonderful as Matthew – the manny – who understands him as no one else can. The manny is funny, goofy, knowledgeable, and energetic. Two of his siblings would agree, but Lulu – the eldest – can’t STAND the manny, and begins keeping a log of all of his transgressions, which she names, “The Manny Files.” Despite Lulu’s attempts to get the manny fired, he manages to stick around and offer sage advice, fashion tips, and guidance in his capacity as the Dalinger children’s nanny. Keats loves him and you will, too. Excerpt: When Grandma watches her soap operas, the manny dresses her up as a different character each day. She doesn’t care what soap opera she watches, because she thinks they are all the same anyway. Grandma always pretends to be the character that she is dressed like. The evil stepsister, Tracy. The misunderstood doormat, Jan, who is now in a coma. The conniving Lisa who has been married to everybody on the show and has already died twice. One time when we got home from school, Grandma was dressed in a dark red wig and had on a lot of eye makeup and lipstick. She had a big fake jewel necklace around her neck and was screaming at the manny with a fake accent. “I know that it was you who ran off to Bolivia with my daughter and brainwashed her. I had to bury seven husbands to get this rich, and I’m not about to hand it over to you without a fight.” The manny whispered back just loud enough for us to hear, “Ah, Lisa, you are right not to trust me, but you are too late. I put rat poison in your martini.” Grandma pretended to choke and clasped on to her throat. “You horrible, horrible manny.” She keeled over with her eyes open and hung her tongue out of the side of her mouth. Lulu rolled her eyes and huffed, “Don’t ever do that in front of my friends.” (pp. 111-112)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    My surprise with this book was the age. I confess that I was expecting it to be an adult novel, taking after The Nanny Diaries. But I was wrong. After I adjusted to that massive paradigm shift, I found that I enjoyed the novel. Keat is just so likable. You sense his real concern about losing the first nanny he's actually liked and who actually seems to like him and try to draw more out of him. More than anything, I appreciated his absolute innocence. The main demonstration of this innocence is th My surprise with this book was the age. I confess that I was expecting it to be an adult novel, taking after The Nanny Diaries. But I was wrong. After I adjusted to that massive paradigm shift, I found that I enjoyed the novel. Keat is just so likable. You sense his real concern about losing the first nanny he's actually liked and who actually seems to like him and try to draw more out of him. More than anything, I appreciated his absolute innocence. The main demonstration of this innocence is that unlike everyone around him, he has no concept that the manny is gay. Or, for that matter, that his uncle is gay. So he doesn't pick up on the adult romance that blossoms there until it's an actual relationship. I liked this because that's really how a kid's world is—massively egocentric and innocent. It's adults—like Grant's brother-in-law (you know, the squat latino who knocked up Grant's sister for a greencard, out of wedlock, mind you)—who freak out about the Gays and their Corruption of Everything Holy and Oh! the Damage They Wish to Inflict upon Children. Kids only recognize that there are adults in their lives who love them and want them to be all they can be. The writing isn't stellar, and there isn't much of a plot, but overall I had a pleasant experience with the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    KidsFiction Teton County Library

    Teton County Call Number: J Burch No rating A wonderfully funny and feel-good story told from the perspective of Keats Dalinger, the only boy amongst three sisters: Lulu, the oldest and the smartest, India, the creative one, and Belly the more-often-than-not naked toddler filled with giggles. Amidst all these girls, Keats is excited to meet the family's new nanny-a fellow male who calls himself the "manny." Noteveryone in the family likes the manny as much as Keats, though- most notable his eldest Teton County Call Number: J Burch No rating A wonderfully funny and feel-good story told from the perspective of Keats Dalinger, the only boy amongst three sisters: Lulu, the oldest and the smartest, India, the creative one, and Belly the more-often-than-not naked toddler filled with giggles. Amidst all these girls, Keats is excited to meet the family's new nanny-a fellow male who calls himself the "manny." Noteveryone in the family likes the manny as much as Keats, though- most notable his eldest sister, Lulu, who writes down all the manny's nutty antics in her notebook, dubbed, "The Manny Files," which she later uses as evidence in an attempt to have the nanny fired. (like all the previous nannies) Readers will want to keep the pages turning to find out if Lulu is successful in ousting Keats' all-time favorite nanny (there have been many in the past), and also to read about what the manny is up to next: from convincing the entire family to wear underwear on their heads at the dinner table, to greeting the school bus dressed as a limo driver; from putting an entire coconut that reads, "be interesting," in Keats' lunch bag, to dressing up Keats's ailing grandmother while while singing opera with her. The manny is a very lovable (and loving) character who would be a blast to spend time with. Readers will be satisfied to see Keats come of age, confront his bossy sister and class bully, and embrace the manny's advice to, "be interesting."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Audience: teens, grades 5-9 Recommend to: I'm not sure yet, this isn't for everyone 1. Narrator Keats, a third grade boy who has a mature perspective, is the only boy in a family of sisters. They've gone through a series of nannies, when the family takes on a male nanny (The Manny). Humor and seriousness mix together nicely in this tale. One reviewer described it as Mary Poppins meets David Sedaris, and I think that may be accurate. It's funny, and not something that fits nicely into a box. 2. Kea Audience: teens, grades 5-9 Recommend to: I'm not sure yet, this isn't for everyone 1. Narrator Keats, a third grade boy who has a mature perspective, is the only boy in a family of sisters. They've gone through a series of nannies, when the family takes on a male nanny (The Manny). Humor and seriousness mix together nicely in this tale. One reviewer described it as Mary Poppins meets David Sedaris, and I think that may be accurate. It's funny, and not something that fits nicely into a box. 2. Keats is ignored by many adults - the teachers comparing him to his older brainiac sister resonated with me. I was the older brainiac sister. He learns to stand up for himself and his ideas -- both in the family trial against the manny and against the schoolyard bully. 3. Fashion and wedgies -- this is why it doesn't fit nicely into a box. The sense of humor mirrors real life -- one person can relate to snarky comments, going commando, the idea of being unattainable and wanting to be Sarah Jessica Parker's personal shopper all at once. Or, at least, different people in the family can. I just don't know kids who would go for this, yet. 4. The Manny Files is a notebook that Lulu keeps with evidence against the manny. 5. The writing was a bit choppy for me -- I had a hard time getting into it, and staying into it.

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