Tag Archives: Sean Stockdale

Max the Champion

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…)

Stockdale, Strick, Asquith, Max the Champion

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.

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Lots of new books

And some old ones, too. You can never re-issue certain books too many times.

It’s understandable that the publishing world would pick a day like today to publish lots of books. 6th of June has a lovely ring to it. It’s sort of made for books, I’d say.

Originally I was going to review something today, just because it had a 6/6 publishing date. But then I discovered it’d be almost impossible to choose which one. (And I sort of ran out of time, too. I kept working on the May books for longer than I should have. They were good, too. Don’t misunderstand me. But June beats everything.) So I’ll let you have a June book tomorrow. And later.

Terry Pratchett’s publishers have really gone to town today. I’d like to think they had me in mind. But maybe not. Anyway; Terry’s Johnny trilogy is out again, and it is such a fantastic set of stories. I think I sometimes say stupid things such as I like Johnny and the Bomb best, but then I remember that I don’t necessarily, because they are all great, so I won’t say that. At all.

And, Maurice and the rodents are also back, and you just can’t not read it, if you haven’t already.

Theresa Breslin’s Queen Mary book is out in paperback, and Sam Hepburn’s Chasing the Dark is also available now. Andy Mulligan has a new book today (thank you!) and so does Elen Caldecott.

Kate Maryon and Margo Lanagan, likewise. Nicholas Allan. Sean Stockdale, Alexandra Strick and Ros Asquith.

So perhaps it becomes clear why I don’t read all of the books, however excellent and marvellous they are, or seem to be. I will read some, and some I will put in my ‘house arrest’ box. They will be most welcome when the time comes.

Actually, I will leave you today with an almost review. Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart have a new picture book, Just Imagine. It has many very lovely pictures. Naturally. The kind you could sit for hours finding new details in. It has words, too, including the word ‘bewitching.’ Despite that, and despite the fact that there is a witch in the book, I don’t think they have covered just what I’d want; the time to read all the books I would like to read.

Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart, Just Imagine

Just Imagine shows the reader a lot of different scenarios for what or who they could be. Since the book-reading-time thing isn’t on offer, I’ll go for ‘parent-frightening’ which actually sounds quite fun.

Grrrr! (Although that is only if you don’t go out and read one of the books I’ve mentioned. One of the very special 6th June books.)

Margo Lanagan, Yellow Cake

(Or I could scare you with Yellow Cake by Margo Lanagan. It’s a great title. I’m just a little scared of Margo, whose writing is not exactly run of the mill.

The other titles I’ve not mentioned yet are Theresa Breslin – Spy for the Queen of Scots, Kate Maryon – Invisible Girl, Nicholas Allan – The Royal Nappy, Stockdale, Strick and Asquith – Max the Champion, Elen Caldecott – The Great Ice-Cream Heist, Andy Mulligan – The Boy with 2 Heads, Terry Pratchett – The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, and The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.)