Reviews for Max
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 November 2000
Ages 4-7. The story begins in the lightning-bolt-shaped house of superheroes Captain Lightning and Madam Thunderbolt, where baby Max learns to walk and talk like any other little tyke. But as Max grows up, he has family tradition to live up to, and in one area he's lagging behind everyone's expectations. Although he wears the family superhero suit and receives plenty of encouragement, he can't fly. One day though, he leaps into the air to save a baby bird that has fallen from its nest, and Max hovers and hurtles, swoops and soars. Just as the neighbors accept a thunderbolt house on their quiet suburban street, Max's classmates accept his aptitude for flying. As one friends says, "Everyone's different in some way, aren't they?" The book's large size and brilliant colors work well with the telling of this down-to-earth hero tale, which includes everyday scenes of Captain Lightning changing toddler Max's diaper as well as a heroic double-page spread of Max leaping to the little bird's rescue. Max's mother sums up one welcome theme, declaring that it's not her son's job to catch crooks, but to be "a small hero doing quiet deeds. The world needs more of those." Agreed. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring
Max, the young son of superheroes Captain Lightning and Madam Thunderbolt, seems unable to fly. The desire to rescue a falling baby bird triggers Max's latent flying ability, which he practices regularly thereafter. Witty blends of ordinary and fantastic details (changing a diaper in the family's lightning-bolt shaped house) and a warm tone in both the text and the illustrations contribute to the book's appeal. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2000 July #2
No one will accuse Graham (Benny, 1999, etc.) of excessive subtlety in this story of meeting life's challenges when you are good and ready. Young Max is the son of superheroes Captain Lightning and Madam Thunderbolt and he is the grandson of superannuated superheroes. He, too, is destined for the superhero life--he even sports a cape and mask--but Max is short a card in the superhero deck: he can't fly. His parents school him in the arts of hovering and swooping and hurtling; his grandfather notes challengingly that, "when I was his age, I got into trouble for leaving fingerprints on the ceiling lamp." He gets teased at school for his decidedly un-superpowers. Still, Max remains firmly grounded, not willfully, but simply, because. Soon thereafter, Max witnesses a young bird being nudged from the nest. "This bird was not ready to fly." Fortunately, another one is: Max flies to the baby bird's rescue. From there it's just an arm stroke to the jet stream. For good measure, Graham tosses in this comment from one of Max's school chums: "Everyone's different in some way, aren't they?" These blatancies almost reduce the book to a cliché, though not quite. The rest of the text has a tender quality that can't be overlooked, and the artwork alone--cartoony watercolors of saturated color, broken into numerous panels--will keep young eyes wholly absorbed. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2000 July #4
What's a family of superheroes to do when their progeny is slow to develop his flying skills? Graham (Benny; Queenie) introduces just this dilemma in his sweetly silly picture book about discovering one's specialness. Caped crime fighters Captain Lightning and Madam Thunderbolt can't wait for their young son Max to accompany them on their daring, do-good missions. But although he wears his tights, mask and cape well, Max hasn't mastered the superhero flight patterns. Enthusiastic coaching and coaxing from his parents and grandparents don't help. Neither does teasing from the kids at school ("Why don't you do tough things like your mom and dad?"). But when a helpless baby bird needs rescuing, Max's superhero genes suddenly kick into gear. Themes of patience, acceptance and self-confidence get a lift in this humorous tale with a satisfying resolution. The superhero home life that unfolds via Graham's chipper ink-and-watercolor artwork, in cartoon-like panels as well as full spreads, is particularly entertaining. Scenes of Captain Lightning shaving and getting dressed, and Grandma and Grandad (in superhero garb) relaxing on lawn chairs in front of the family's lightning-bolt-shaped house are laugh-out-loud funny. Ages 4-7. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 August #3
hat's a family of superheroes to do when their progeny is slow to develop his flying skills? Graham answers this question handily with scenarios that will have readers laughing out loud, as Max discovers his own special qualities," wrote PW in our Best Books citation. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2000 September
PreS-Gr 1-Max has been born into a family of superheroes, but, despite his cape, mask, and his parents' encouragement, he just can't seem to get the hang of flying. By the time he starts school, he still prefers the ground, and even his classmates' taunts don't prod him to change. However, when a baby bird falls from its nest, Max throws caution (and thoughts of himself) to the wind and leaps to save the fledgling, the first step toward his becoming "a small hero doing quiet deeds." Now Max flies all around and spends his days quietly helping others and, sometimes, flying around with his parents just for the fun of it. The simple, straightforward story has just a slight dose of tension provided by Max's grandfather, who is baffled by his grandson's reluctance to fly. However, the support and acceptance the boy receives from his parents are heartwarming and reassuring. The colorful ink-and-watercolor cartoon illustrations are the strength of the book. Done in a mix of comic-strip boxes and full-page spreads, they give the story an appealing look and feel, and clearly reinforce the play between fantasy and reality. Storytime listeners are sure to delight in the masked faces of Max's parents, Captain Lightning and Madam Thunderbolt, and his slightly lumpy, superhero grandparents. A welcome, gentle look at the world of superheroes.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.