Parents' Guide to

Freak the Mighty

By Monica Wyatt, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Outcasts join forces and conquer readers' hearts.

Freak the Mighty Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 18 parent reviews

age 14+

Rating doesn't cover the myriad of topics discussed in this book.

This book deals with a lot of difficult topics that some kids may need help unpacking. The rating says there is no smoking, drinking, or drugs. However, there are multiple references to alcohol, smoking, and other illicit behaviors. In fact, one of the side characters is an alcoholic. The grandfather is a chain smoker as well. Another character has a cigarette in her hand at every appearance. The rating also says there is no swearing, but there is a lot of name calling within the bullying aspect and thought process of the main character (midget, retard, etc.). In addition to the above, the book deals with bullying, gang violence, domestic violence, and murder. It also covers disability and child death. There is also discussion of violence within schools, including explosives. It is a rough book to read through and many young readers will have a difficult time unpacking these topics without guidance. Left to their own, a younger audience may feel a lot of disappointment by the end of the book. Do I think there is value in the book? Yes. However, I think guidance is needed for younger readers. The description is just misleading because while there is a friendship story, there is so much more going on as stated above.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
4 people found this helpful.
age 18+

This title has:

Too much violence
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (18):
Kids say (87):

Funny, scary, suspenseful, and wise, this book can build empathy and help young readers accept kids who seem different from them. When you don't fit in, and you're a kid, what do you do? Max just suffers alone, compressing his emotions inside his massive body. Kevin fights back by letting his intelligence and his imagination soar beyond his deformed body. Even if he can't save himself, Kevin can save Max. He teaches Max how to use his imagination to create exciting adventures: Houses become castles, swimming pools become moats, and a hard-boiled motorcycle mama becomes a damsel in distress. And he teaches readers compassion and that everyone is valuable and has something to contribute.

Through Kevin's courage in the face of his illness, Freak the Mighty shows the importance of not giving up when faced with difficulty, and readers see how Kevin inspires Max's progress. Kevin uses his vocabulary as a weapon and teaches Max how to use the dictionary, his favorite book. Max says that Kevin "pulls it out like Arnold Schwarzenegger pulling out a machine gun or something," showing readers the power of words.

Book Details

  • Author: Rodman Philbrick
  • Genre: Friendship
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • Publication date: January 1, 1993
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 169
  • Last updated: September 22, 2020

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