Keeping it Real and Unreal in Children’s books
Writer of middle-grade realistic fiction and picture books.
Real – situations, real issues, real feelings, real hope.
Unreal – fun, funky, quirky, awesome and fanciful.
MAXIMUS REVIEW SNIPPETS FROM CBCA READING TIME NEWSLETTER
In his backyard eleven-year-old Mitch has Maximus, a magpie with whom he makes friends. It’s almost as if the backyard becomes his oasis in a world where things are just all wrong for him. This is a book about allowing kids to feel all the things that it’s not “cool” to feel – being bullied, being worried for your parents, and not understanding why you’re feeling like everything is going wrong. It’s also a book about asking for help, and about being unafraid to have these feelings of loss, and anger – at your friends or your parents. Mitch is given some excellent advice and coping mechanisms, and the author presents this in a way that young readers are going to love – if Mitch can write a poem about how everything sucks, and it’s essentially a list of all the things that suck… and it makes him feel better, then young readers can too if they need to. Young readers will see that adults need the same sort of help they might too, and that for young and old it’s okay to ask for it. There are lovely friendships, and even an examination of ANZACs and what it means to Australians to honour that history in Maximus. I can’t finish without mentioning the lovely illustrations, which will resonate with young readers as they will see their own messy rooms, backyards and family dinners in them too!
Reviewed by Verushka Byron
Previous picture books:
Books for adults: