It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a black boy with a big imagination!
Max has finished cleaning his room so he can now play, and play he does! One vibrant, colorful spread after another depicts him pretending to zoom around in his car, ascend with his jet pack, descend with a parachute, and more. At every turn he confronts a menace (a river of hot lava or shark-infested water, for example) and exclaims “Great gadzooks!” The refrain “Had Max met his match?" is tailor-made for storytime fun, as Max, of course, emerges triumphant and never meets his match. Oh, but wait: at book’s end Max’s mother, also black, appears and prompts another round of room cleaning: “Max had met his match.” But Mom is a softie, and she helps him with the cleanup. It’s refreshing to see a parent and child of color in a contemporary, playful picture book, and the winning, vibrant digital illustrations add much to the humorous text. The combination delivers a picture book sure to speed its way to school, library, and home bookshelves, where it will surely demand repeat readings.
Great gadzooks! This book is a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)