During a series of visits with his dad in his new apartment, Max begins adjusting to his parents’ recent separation.
Max’s pain, “like somebody was sitting on his chest,” is palpable as he explores the apartment. He understands that his father has tried to make it feel special, but the paint is too blue, and his football-themed bedroom feels wrong. The tale is broken up into a series of weekend vignettes, each ending on an upbeat note, as Max and his father adjust to their new lifestyle. They explore the neighborhood while playing a spying game and shop for just the right sofa. An elderly neighbor and other lightly sketched but believable characters are warmly helpful. When Max worries about his father’s disappointment at not attending an open mic night with his ukulele, neighbors come to the rescue, creating a new sense of community for father and son. Finally, on the third weekend, Max’s friend sleeps over, and he realizes that he can have two places to live and that both of them can be home. Kath’s preliminary sketches match well with the warm humor of Max’s tenderly portrayed experiences. Race goes unmentioned in the text, but though Kath depicts Max and his dad as white, some of the secondary characters, including Max’s best friend, have dark skin.
A sweet, empathetic look at a common situation. (Fiction. 6-10)