Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things
By Darienne Stewart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Intriguing tale of boy as detective after parents vanish.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Educational ValueMax's Grammie, a librarian, puts her skill set to work to try to find out what happened to Max's parents. The story incorporates references to Shakespeare, Euclid, and more.
Positive MessagesThe right thing to do isn't always the most obvious, as Max comes to understand. Perceptiveness and patience can point to solutions for the thorniest of problems. Class differences are a central theme, but Max finds friends and connections across the gulf of wealth and privilege.
Positive Role ModelsMax is practical and resourceful. Despite his youth, he takes the time to think before acting. He's empathetic, appreciating that few things should be taken at face value. He strives to do the right thing for all parties and takes his responsibilities seriously. His Grammie is similarly grounded. She does what she can for him within her limited means.
Violence & ScarinessAn intruder ransacks Max's house and injures his tutor. Max and Grammie are worried that his father's references to a fortune in his home might attract trouble.
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Parents Need to KnowParents need to know that Max's parents are mysteriously absent in Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things. Max doesn't know if they've abandoned him or fallen victim to misfortune. He strives to avoid lying but resorts to disguising himself in his investigative work as a "solutioneer." The wealthy families in Max's town are not portrayed favorably, but Max -- who's not well off -- finds a way to work with class differences rather than chafe at them. The book is the first in a planned trilogy.
Where to Read
Based on 1 parent review
A Contrived Tale
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What's the Story?
Is It Any Good?
Talk to Your Kids About ...
- Families can talk about Max's mix of honesty and deceit. He avoids outright lies yet isn't fully honest. Is the distinction important? Is he justifying immoral behavior, or is he doing the right thing?
Absent parents are a common theme in children's stories. Why do you think this is?
Max dons disguises and adopts the mannerisms of theatrical characters when he's on the job. How does this help him?
- Author: Cynthia Voigt
- Illustrator: Iacopo Bruno
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Adventures, Great Boy Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Children's Books
- Publication date: September 10, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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