Max Einstein: World Champions!: Max Einstein, Book 4

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Max Einstein: World Champions!: Max Einstein, Book 4 Book Poster Image
Teens tackle climate science in fun, fast-paced adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

Physics, chemistry, history, and other information about science and nature. A lot of information about climate change.

Positive Messages

Work hard and use your talents to make the world better, and be sure to take care of your own emotional health along the way.

Positive Role Models

The kids are good positive models for one another: They're loyal, caring, smart, and motivated to do good things.

Diverse Representations

The core group at CMI is made up of kids from many countries with very few references to cultural differences, and there's a global approach to solving climate change.

Violence & Scariness

The kids are in constant danger, but nothing graphic and they tend to escape in fun ways.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Max Einstein World Champions is an engaging read whose brainy characters are fearless do-good warriors, even if the book lacks a little of the sizzle that's been core to this fun, smart series. Authors James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein put climate change front and center here, with the teens trying to find a way to solve this global problem the best way they know how: by using science. Characters from earlier books reappear here in ways that are sometimes just a little too tidy, leaving no loose ends, and the time-traveling ideas are a bit over the top, but it's a great adventure story and the characters ask important questions about humans' impact on the fate of the planet. The real-world use of science can spark the science bug in kids who wonder what the practical side of studying physics and chemistry. The kids are in constant danger, but there's nothing graphic, and they tend to escape in fun ways.

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What's the story?

In MAX EINSTEIN: WORLD CHAMPIONS, the young geniuses of the Change Makers Institute (CMI) are back trying to help improve the world, this time by tackling climate change. They've stopped trying to stay anonymous: Max is addressing the United Nations, Ben has hired a social media guru, and the kids of CMI have become huge targets for the evil forces trying to prop up the fossil fuel industry. But things get tricky when Ben's enormous fortune mysteriously disappears, because even though CMI has to disband, the kids are still driven to solve both the mystery of the shadowy operative trying to destroy them and to making lasting changes to turn around the climate crisis.

Is it any good?

There are plenty of action-packed chases, mysterious figures lurking in the shadows, fun and fantastic science, and earnest kids in this fast, fun read. It falls a little flat in places, the CMI work with the ships in Australia seems like a stretch, and a few of the plot points never really make sense. But authors James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein know how to write a page-turner, and Max Einstein World Champions is another hit. The way Max and her friends explain science make it accessible; physics is a lot more interesting when you're using it to save your life. The idea of time travel seems like a diversion, and it pulls away from reality in a way that seems out of place with the rest of a book rooted in real issues. But the teen activism is powerful, and the way the kids use their talents to work hard and solve complex problems is inspiring.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the group responds to Klaus not believing in climate change in Max Einstein World Champions. How do you react when a friend refuses to see a point you know is logical and fact-based? Do you try to talk or do you avoid the topic?

  • What do you think we can do to reduce climate change? What is something small people could do in their own communities to help reverse the current climate path?

  • What do you think of the idea of time travel?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science and environmental issues

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