MUDDY MAX by Elizabeth Rusch


The Mystery of Marsh Creek
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 12
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Repeated dunks in contaminated mud confer temporary superpowers on a middle schooler in this spotty series opener.

Curiosity understandably sparked by the discovery that he can disappear entirely into the thinnest mud puddle and also remain invisible until he washes off, Max sneaks away with nerdy inventor buddy Patrick to the local swamp for some experiments. What he discovers rocks his world: The muck there endows him with superstrength farts and other more useful abilities when slathered on and, well, eaten—but it also turns out to be an increasingly clingy goo with a mind of its own. Moreover, Max isn’t the first person to fall into its clutches. The stage is set for a high-pressure double rescue, in which a Ghostbusters-style “demudifier” contrived by Patrick plays a central role. A third schoolmate, Irie, is introduced but, in this episode, not given anything significant to do except spy on the boys, though she does figure on the cover. Lawrence’s clean-lined figures portray character and action in easy-to-read ways, but as his panels don’t vary much in size, the page design has a mechanical look. Also, judging by the sample pages, the colors are muddy (not in a good way) and too pale to give the waves and splotches of creeping goop any real definition.

Not a slick kickoff, but the premise should stick with (if not to) readers well enough to water interest in sequels. (activities) (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4494-3561-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


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