Did I ever mention how much I love Ros Asquith’s illustrations? In general, I mean. Well, I do. She can brighten up almost any ‘dire’ situation with her take on how people look. (I miss reading the Guardian Education and her spot-on observations on life in our schools.)
In Max the Champion it is Ros’s pictures that make the book. My sincere apologies to Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick who wrote the words. (You should have chosen a really rubbish illustrator…)
Max is a crazy, but also completely normal, little boy. He is crazy about sport. He lives and breathes sport, and I do believe there was even sport in his breakfast cereal.
He wakes up, he eats his cereal. He goes to school. He and his classmates do the sorts of things you do at school. Max turns everything into sport. His still life ‘fruitbowl’ full of (sports) balls is quite something.
In the afternoon they do sport at school, and he loves it.
As a reader you are halfway through the book before you realise that’s a hearing aid in Max’s ear. And he’s so excited he’s got his inhaler out. His classmates are also a little ‘different.’ One is in a wheelchair. One has an eye problem.
Apart from Max’s sheer enjoyment as he goes through his day with nothing but sport on his mind, nothing much happens. But that’s fine. We want to see those ‘different’ children behaving just like everyone else.
We shouldn’t need a special book to do so. But we do. Here it is.