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Author: Heather R. Robyn
Illustrator: Zoe Mellors
Length: 51 pages
Genre: Children’s, Fiction, Fantasy
Release Data: March 12, 2020
I got a free PDF (reader copy) of Super Max and the Math Menace from the review platform on Reedsy Discovery. Receiving the book for free has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
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I don’t usually review young children’s books, but the summary of this book caught my eye as it is a story about defeating testing anxiety, specifically math test anxiety. And the young heroine prevails in an interesting way. Read on for my review.
Three stars, but with a qualification.
At first glance 3 stars may not seem like much. However, I’m reviewing this book as an adult who isn’t all that interested in children’s books as my own child isn’t of an age to be entertained by this book any more. However, I know that there are a lot of children who will appreciate this book so I do think it would make a good read for the age group it is geared toward.
When the book opens, the reader isn’t quite sure where the story is going. Why is Max super? What makes her super? Why or how is math a menace? And why would a book go out of its way to make kids nervous about math?
It never is explained how or why Max is super. However, she does carry a cape and mask in her backpack that her teacher lets her take out to wear randomly in class. She uses her “superpower” of being brave and conquering her fears when she has test anxiety and helps the whole class to get over their nervousness. The entire store is told in rhyme. The idea is cute. It will likely be popular in elementary school classrooms and I’m picturing kindergarten and first grade teachers reading it to their students.
The concept of using superhero bravery to do well at school tests will probably market well with the target audience. The wording is reminiscent of a toned-down version of Dr Sues without the made-up words and will make for good reading practice. The fact that there is no explanation why Max carries a cape and mask in her backpack will likely lead to questions on the part of young readers and might make for fun class discussions.
Overall, the book is entertaining and will likely be engaging for young readers. If my kid was still of an age where he would appreciate the story, I would be reading it to him. And knowing the way kids are about books, I would likely be reading this book to him over and over again.
This is the kind of book anyone with young family members can count on as a present to give to children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. It is something you hand down from one kid to the next as they learn to read and face the struggles of starting test taking in school.
Super Max and the Math Menace is the kind of not-quite-new-to-reading book that that children are going to ask their parents if they still have it in storage somewhere around the house when they are grown and their own children reach the appropriate age to read it. They will happily share their worn copies with “happy birthday’s” and “Merry Christmas’s” written on the inside covers with the children now in their life. Or they will fondly recall how much they loved their long-lost copy as they buy a new print for a kid they know.
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