What parents need to know
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parents Need to Know
Parents 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.
What's the story?
Max is used to his parents' theatrics -- they're actors, and a little drama and self-absorption are to be expected. But when he arrives at the dock to join them on a journey to India, where they're to create a theatrical company for a maharajah, he finds no sign of the ship or of his parents. They've gone. Did they abandon him? Were they deceived? All Max knows is that he's alone. His Grammie next door can help him, but he must get work and find his own way. Max soon discovers he has a knack for finding things. Disguised in his parents' costumes, he turns his talent for problem-solving to practical -- and profitable -- use. As good as he is at helping others, however, Max finds the mystery of his missing parents stubbornly perplexing.
Is it any good?
In MISTER MAX: THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS, Cynthia Voigt -- author of Homecoming -- presents another resourceful child left to fend without parents. Max, challenged to prove his independence at age 12, is a perceptive and resourceful old soul. An atypical 12-year-old, he's often mistaken for an adult: He never seems to want to play, or shirk responsibility, or act selfishly. That may sound dreary, but he's a charming hero who grows on you.
Voigt is a skilled writer, and her prose and pacing may challenge younger children. Patient readers who enjoy connecting the dots will savor a nuanced mystery with the promise of more satisfying adventures as the trilogy unfolds.
Families can talk 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?
|Topics:||Adventures, Great boy role models|
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Publication date:||September 10, 2013|
|Number of pages:||400|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||8 - 12|
|Read aloud:||8 - 12|
|Read alone:||8 - 12|
|Available on:||Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook|