THE MANIC PANIC
PRAISE FOR “THE MANIC PANIC”
“In this unexpected take on screen addiction, an Indian import, an unnamed girl convinces her parents that they, too, can have fun away from their pods and pads.
On ‘most days’ Daddy can be found referring to recipes on his wireless device, and Mommy, on the couch, snacking and tapping on her laptop. But, when the Wi-Fi goes down, Mommy ‘howls’ and Daddy ‘bellows’. They ‘whine’ and ‘whimper’.
‘Mommy! Daddy! BEHAVE! It is NOT the end of the world,’ says the ingenious protagonist, and she takes her parents out into the ‘big wide world out there’: They climb trees, play soccer, and buy hot chai from the street vendor.
While the parents display a reluctance stereotypical to screen-focused children, the young protagonist mirrors parental responses, with ‘knit…brows’ and firmness. Young readers will likely get the joke. When the family returns home, the Wi-Fi is still down, but now they ‘have other things to think about. Like the clouds and the breeze and the trees.’ The identity of the second-person narrator is revealed at the end, which is yet another humorous turnabout.
Ananth’s muted, posterlike illustrations are not India-specific (save, perhaps, for the tea stall), and they feature a multi-generational, middle-class brown family that might be found anywhere in the diaspora.
Unmistakably message-driven (‘YOU know what’s good for them’) yet silly and light.”
[Each month we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting.]
“The unthinkable has happened – the Internet and Wi-Fi have gone down! A young girl and her Nana are not troubled by this – they have plenty of ideas that don’t involve technology. However, the girl’s parents are devastated – they whine and grumble and fret.
Finally convincing them to go on an outing, the girl’s family has a lovely time playing soccer, riding bicycles, and relaxing in the park. The surprise ending explains why the Wi-Fi is still down after dinner time.
This hilarious and timely story will resonate with all families having access to the Internet, regardless of country or culture. (K-3.)”
“If we can’t laugh at this media addicted world, then how can we set the devices down and remember everything the world and the unplugged world has to offer!
Don’t wait for your wifi to hit the fritz; unplug and get outside and spend time in the real world and set the virtual aside. This book is both delightful and insightful! ”
– Jesica Sweedler DeHart (librarian, Neill Public Library)
“Some grown-ups have so much screen time that they just can’t cope when the wifi goes out. Luckily the grown-ups in Manic Panic live with a smart kid who loves to read and an adventurous grandma who knows how to have fun without the internet.
Manic Panic is a wry look at the value of unplugged family time, even when someone is resistant to the real world. The illustrations add depth to the story, helping us to see all the small things we can miss when we’re glued to our phones.”
– Clare Doornbos (Book Passage)
“This unexpected tale will have you grinning at the ingenuity of a young girl and her parents as they cope with an Internet outage. Nothing is what you expect which makes this a joy to read.”
– T.J. Shay, K-12 music teacher, KidLitTV contributor, and International Dot Day founder
“As parents, we’re quick to control how much time our kids spend plugged in to the Internet. But sometimes we aren’t as plugged in to family life as we could be. This book has an important message for us all: the Internet is a reality IN our lives, but it’s not the reality OF our lives.”
― Steve Peha, award-winning author of “Be a Better Writer: For School, For Fun, For Anyone Ages 10-16″