A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Linda Urban's Weekends with Max and His Dad shows what happens to a kid after his dad moves into his own apartment. Max, age 9, and his father, Leo, are getting accustomed to a new living situation by playing games and being very human. Yes, they both have big feelings, but the easy rapport between father and son provides a vehicle for gentle insights about what it means to be a kid living in two homes. A great book to help parents and kids discuss divorce.
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What's the story?
After Max's parents divorce, his dad moves into an apartment in a neighborhood not far away from Max's mom's house. Third-grader Max is visiting for the first weekend in the apartment, and they begin by playing an intricate game of spies. Max's dad is Agent Cheese, and Max is Agent Pepperoni. Even though Agent Cheese doesn't quite have the spy lingo down, the two explore the new neighborhood undercover. And even though Max isn't really comfortable in his new bed, he knows that Agent Cheese is on the lookout for any suspicious activity. The next weekend, the two take a trip to "INEEDA" in search of some much-needed furniture. They come home with a couch called Olle and a plastic squirrel named Knut. There's dog walking, pizza eating, ukulele playing, and, yes, there are blues. In the end, Max gets more comfortable with a very big change, and his dad shows Max that he always has a home.
Is it any good?
This expertly written story shows that life after divorce has bumps, but it can be all right. WEEKENDS WITH MAX AND HIS DAD is not a gritty, in-your-face tale of loss. There's a sense of loss, and Max displays anxiety, but these characteristics are integrated, not spotlighted. For example, at times Max feels like "somebody is sitting on his chest." Sometimes he needs to run around -- a lot. On the day his dad moved out, Max was sent to his friend Warren's house, kept busy with movies and ice cream -- "too busy to think about what was going on in his house."
Weekends with Max and His Dad provides a perfect opportunity for parents and kids to discuss divorce. The message is couched in the action. Max and his dad do stuff. Imbued in the stuff they do is the fact that life has changed forever -- but that they can make it through without losing themselves. With subtlety, it promotes a positive, natural dialogue about a very big life event.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media portrays divorced families. Which books, movies, or TV shows illustrate families like Max's? Are they realistic? What does your family look like?
Max and his dad have a pretty easy relationship. What do you think works for them? What is Max afraid of?
How does the porcupine project help Max come to terms with his new living situation?
- Author: Linda Urban
- Illustrator: Katie Kath
- Genre: Family Life
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date: April 5, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 9
- Number of pages: 160
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, App
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For kids who love family stories and books that touch on divorce
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