The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Neil Armstrong is My Uncle
& Other Lies Muscle Man
McGinty Told Me
By: Nan Marino
Interactive Novel
Power Point Presentation
created by Stacey Graham
 "Muscle Man McGinty is a squirrelly runt, a lying
snake, and a pitiful excuse for a ten-year
old......the problem is that no one knows it but
me. In the entire town of Massapequa Park, only
I can see him for what he really is. A phony.
 It's the summer of 1969, and things are not only
changing in Tamara's little Long Island town,
but in the world. Perhaps Tamara could stand to
take one small step toward a bit of compassion
and understanding?
Cover Talk
Based on the cover of the book, answer the
following questions:
In what time period does the story take
place, in your opinion? Why?
What can you predict about the main
character in the book? Why?
What can you predict about the themes in
the book? Why?
Why do you think the author used this color
Why do you think the author used this font
for the title?
The story takes place in Massapequa,
New York during the summer of 1969.
It begins on the first day of summer,
marked by the much anticipated
arrival of the ice cream truck.
Most events of the story take place in
and around the neighborhood where
the main characters live.
How does the setting (the when and
where of the story) effect the main
character? Why?
Man on the Moon
In the Summer of 1969, Neil Armstrong
became the first man to walk on the moon. He
said the historic words, "One small step for man,
one giant leap for mankind."
What did he mean by this statement?
Why do you think the astronaut, Buzz Aldrin,
referred to the moon as “magnificient
How does this statement connect to the story,
in your opinion?
Initiating Event
What is it?
The events or actions that set further events in the story in motion.
The initiating event in the story occurs in the beginning few chapters. It is
when ice cream truck arrives in their neighborhood signaling he beginning of
their summer.
The rest of the story is focused upon the events that occur during this
memorable summer and how these events impact the characters in the story.
Why is the summer so important to kids? How do you feel about your
summers? Why?
Main Characters
*Don’t forget to add a border
of objects associated with the
character you choose to
describe and sketch!
The main characters are Tamara and
Muscle Man McGinty.
Other characters include: the other
kids in the neighborhood
(MaryBeth, Billy, Big Danny),
Tamara’s mom and brother, and
various adults from their
neighborhood (Mr. Pizzarelli).
Choose one character to describe in
as much detail as possible and draw
a sketch of this character. Include a
border of objects associated with
this character.
Protagonist and Antagonist
What is the protagonist?
The protagonist is the main character of the story,
everything in the story revolves around him/her/it.
Who is the protagonist of this story? Why?
What is the antagonist?
The antagonist is the character (or force) that opposes the
Who (or what) is the antagonist of this story? Why?
Some would argue the antagonist of this story is a force acting against the
characters and not a person. Why is this? Which do you think it is? Why?
Rising Actions
What is it?
The series of events that lead to the climax of the
story, usually the conflicts or struggles of the
Rising actions occur between the Initiating Event and the
Work with a partner and answer the following question:
What are at least 4 rising actions that lead us toward the
climax in this story? Why?
What is it?
The climax of the story is when the conflict of the
plot is resolved. It is often the most exciting part
of the story. It is sometimes referred to as the
“turning point” of the story, when the plot
changes for better or worse for the protagonist, or
main character. Often, the antagonist is defeated
in the climax.
What is the climax of this story, in your opinion?
Falling Actions
What is it?
Falling action is what results from the climax
and how the characters deal with it.
Falling actions occur between the climax and the
resolution of the story.
Work with a partner and answer the following
What are at least 2 falling actions that lead us
away from the climax in this story? Why?
What is it?
It is the end of the story and it occurs after the climax.
It is when you learn what happens to the characters
after the conflict has been resolved.
What happens to Tamara and Douglas at the end of the
book? Why?
Do you think their relationship with one another will
remain the same? Why or why not?
Write a short epilogue for this book explaining what you
think will happen to the main characters after the story
What is it?
It refers to the general feeling the reader gets when
reading the story.
What is the mood of the story, in your opinion? Why?
What is it?
The theme of a story is what the author is trying to
convey — in other words, the central idea of the story. Short
stories often have just one theme, whereas novels usually
have multiple themes. The theme of a story is woven all the
way through the story, and the characters' actions,
interactions, and motivations all reflect the story's theme.
What are the themes in this story, in your opinion? Why?
This book is a work of Historical Fiction.
What is Historical Fiction?
Historical Fiction—Stories which take place in a
particular time period in the past. Often the
basic setting is real, but the characters are
fictional. Readers can gain an understanding of
the past and relive past events vicariously.
Some of the events in historical fiction books
could actually have occurred. There are also real
people written in as characters in some books of
historical fiction.
What other books of this genre have you read?
Author Information
Nan Marino grew up in Massapequa, New
York, the same town as Jerry Seinfeld, the
Baldwin brothers, and the musical group,
The Stray Cats. Nan spent her childhood
daydreaming in oak trees and on top of
garage roofs. She did come down to earth
for an occasional game of kickball. A
librarian with degrees in library science and
educational technology, Nan lives at the
Jersey shore, with her husband and a very
energetic dog.
What else would you like to know about this
Cover Analysis
 After
reading the book, reevaluate the cover and answer
the following questions:
1.Is this a good cover design, in
your opinion? Why or why
2.Why do you think the
publisher chose this particular
cover design?
3.What clues about the story
does this cover provide?
Reviews and Recommendations
Some of the reviews written for this book, include:
"Nan Marino may be a debut author, but she's obviously a born storyteller. You will
immediately feel at home with her characters, you'll ache right along with them, and
you won't be able to leave their stories behind." - Patricia Reilly Giff
*Starred Review* It is rare to have a story told with sympathy from the viewpoint of a
bully. This debut novel, set in upstate New York in the summer of 1969, does just that
with wit and a light touch that never denies the story’s sorrows. Tammy, 10, is stuck at
home with her cold parents while her brother is away in Vietnam. In her first-person
narrative, she reveals the hurt and loneliness that fuel her anger as she targets the
new, skinny kid, Douglas, who has moved into a foster home on the block. She
mocks him for telling wild lies: he is training for the Olympics; his uncle is Neil
Armstrong, about to walk on the moon; and more. The other kids, including the snotty
girls from the loving family next door, let him be. Why is Tammy so furious? Gradually
the reader sees that she blames Douglas for the disappearance of her beloved only
friend, a foster kid who moved away without telling Tammy why and where she was
going. Douglas is a bit too nice, but he messes up when he tries to help Tammy, and
many readers will recognize the muddled and caring gestures among friends and
enemies. Grades 3-6. --Hazel Rochman
Write your own recommendation for this book. Who do you think should read
this book? Why?
Give a star rating:
Visit the Website
If you would like to explore the world of Nan Marino and see the other
books she has written, you can visit the author’s website!
The site has a lot of great places to explore! Including a blog
by the author. See below!
Welcome to Ramble Street
Ramble Street is a location in my debut middle-grade novel. It's
also the place on the world wide web where I get to, well,
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