You never quite know where the help or support you need is going to come from. This is exactly what happened to Mitch, as far as Mitch was concerned life sucked and that was just how it was. Through an incredible friendship with the most unlikely character Mitch was able to start seeing life in a different way. He was able to look at things through new eyes, and experience things in a different way. This allowed Mitch to start to enjoy life in a way he hadn’t for a long time.
Mitch is a very believable character with family problems that could be happening in any home. This book showed Mitch that there are things that happen that he doesn’t understand but still impact on his life, and he learnt the importance of talking about problems with someone to help work through them.
This is a well-written book and I would highly recommend this book to children aged 10+. Resources on the publisher’s website include: Maximus class activity, teacher’s notes and curriculum notes.
Review by Ted Witham
Illustration by Tash Macfarlane
Eleven-year-old Mitch feels a little out of place when his Fly In – Fly Out dad’s behaviour becomes erratic. Mitch makes friends with an ailing magpie, whom he names Maximus, and they heal each other.
This inventive novel deals with themes of self-esteem, family love and first love with tenderness and skill. It draws on Steve Heron’s long experience as a worker with children. Steve, the founder of the BUZ programs (Build-Up Zone) for primary-aged children, has written before, but this is his first full-length novel for children.
I enjoyed it.
Be-friending a magpie is obviously drawn from experience. The book contains a brilliant description of an inter-school football match.
Maximus means ‘the Greatest’ in Latin, and Steve shows the journey to greater self-esteem in a way that will appeal to middle and upper-primary readers.
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This book will really resonate with readers, particularly those that might be going through a rough patch and feel isolated in their troubles.
Mitch thinks that the whole world is against him. Not only is he having trouble with the kids at school, but his life at home is just as frustrating. His FIFO Dad has changed and is now always angry and volatile, and his relationship and interactions with his little sister just annoy him. The only thing that brings him peace and happiness is the magpie, who he names Maximus, that now keeps frequenting his backyard.
It is not until Mitch has a massive meltdown, and lets all his built up anger and frustration out, that things start to turn around for him. This book really does highlight that there are people around all of us that are there to help, and each and every person has their own struggles that they deal with in different ways.
It has extremely strong themes of friendships, loyalty, family conflict and conflict resolution, bullying and self-confidence, and it is a book that will suit all those aged 9 and above.
Maximus by Steve Heron
Review by Sam from Lamont Books
Steve Heron is a children’s author based in Western Australia. I first met him at a SCBWI retreat on Rottnest Island last year. Who knew back then, that we would end up sharing the same publisher and that months later, we would meet at my favourite Japanese cafe to talk about his middle-grade novel, Maximus. […]
via Writer Talks: Steve Heron — N.L.King, Author