Third-grader Max, who is still adjusting to his parents’ separation, is going on a road trip with his mom to a family reunion.
Max gets along well with both of his parents and is coming to understand their new, separate lifestyles in this sequel to Weekends with Max and His Dad (2016). That tale focused primarily on how Max interacted with his father; this story is much more about his relationship with his pragmatic mom. In addition to getting ready for the road trip, Max is carefully navigating a school assignment to portray his favorite character in a biography—in his case, explorer Ernest Shackleton. Max incorporates aspects of Shackleton’s adventures into his own, especially as he tours an amusement park with his newly encountered cousins and then decides not to ride the scary roller coaster. Even though he has come to accept his parents’ new situation, it doesn’t stop him from poignantly adding his father’s name to a family tree at the reunion, a warmhearted affirmation of his love for his whole family. Serene in its presentation of this common childhood issue, the calm portrayal extends to the attractive (and frequent) preliminary illustrations. Max’s family is white, but his teacher, Miss Maloof, is shown wearing a hijab.
A winsome story for readers newly transitioned to chapter books. (Fiction. 6-9)