Book Review: Max Disaster #1: Alien Eraser to the Rescue
My favorite food may be the Oreo Blizzard. The crushed chocolate cookies are a perfect match to vanilla ice cream. Turn that vanilla into coffee ice cream? Even better. Add some peanut butter and you may not eat another dessert again. The only thing that gets in the way of Oreo Blizzard perfection is a poor mixing job. Blizzard connoisseurs can feel me. Every now and then, for some reason, the cookies are not mixed throughout the ice cream. They penetrate only an inch or two, leaving the bottom half of the cup snow-white and cookie-free. Bad news. Having a good mix is key to success. It makes every bite a pleasure. The same is true of children’s books. When the good stuff is evenly distributed throughout, that makes for good reading. Max Disaster #1: Alien Eraser to the Rescue has this mix down. Heavily illustrated and funny, yet still packing an emotional punch, each page is a pleasure.
Red-haired Max has a scientific mind. Always inventing and experimenting, Max decides to keep a notebook to write it all down. The books also serves as a place for he and his best friend Omar to create comics featuring a green eraser modified to look like an alien. It isnâ€™t long before Maxâ€™s family life begins to make an appearance. Maxâ€™s parents (both scientists themselves) have not been getting along lately and older brother Kevin is doing his best to detach himself from the situation. As Max sorts out his feelings, school becomes a place where he can find relief. When his parents decide to separate, the notebook becomes a place for Max to confide his worries about living life with divorced parents. The conclusion he reaches does not make for a typical happy ending â€“ itâ€™s a bit abrupt – but it does ring true.
While the subject matter is serious, the overall tone of the book is not somber. The sadness is tempered with funny moments and scientific exploration that keep spirits up.
Illustrations play an integral role. If youâ€™re familiar with Mossâ€™ successful â€œAmeliaâ€™s Notebookâ€ series, then youâ€™ll be familiar with what the interior of Alien Eraser is like. Colorful and full of creative doodles, readers will find plenty to like.
A masterful mix of visual interest, humor, information, and emotional truth, Max Disaster #1: Alien Eraser to the Rescue is a wonderful beginning to a series that could become a fan favorite.
Also reviewed by Children’s Book Reviews and Then Some.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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