In this action adventure for children, Max has to balance the everyday activities of any normal 9-year-old with the responsibility of being able to turn into a huge, hairy monster every time he burps.
Max has impressive monster heritage. His mother’s family are all from Krit, a tiny magical country where werewolves and monsters are commonplace. He loves being a monster and goes out at night times to secretly exercise his epic strength and mighty power. Unfortunately, he can’t easily control where or when he turns back into a boy: it happens every time he sneezes and sometimes results in him being stuck far from home without any clothes!
Despite these occasional monstrous wardrobe malfunctions, Max is determined to make the most of his gift. He wishes to protect his community and do good – to save children from fires and chase away bad guys. However, things aren’t that simple. He’s not the only mysterious creature in town and something else is marauding around causing chaos and destruction. Max’s family are eager for him to avoid the blame.
This is the first book in a new Monster Max series and it does a tidy job of setting things up. Max’s family are a fun mix of humdrum and weirdness (like a much less violent Adams Family) and they have a mysterious past, which includes a heartbroken werewolf and the magical bobble hat of forgetting, both of which seem likely to feature in upcoming sequels. The book also introduces Peregrine, a nerdy neighbour with an arsenal of monster-catching equipment, who quickly becomes Max’s nemesis and a barrier to his plans to protect the community.
As well as a fun way of establishing new characters, the story delivers several good belly laughs through its slapstick comedy, and there are lively action scenes that will set readers racing through the pages as if they were being chased by a monster themselves. There’s just enough in this series opener for children to get their monster teeth into.