Review Blog

Jul 28 2017

Middle School mayhem Rachel Renee Russell

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The Misadventures of Max Crumbly book 2. Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781471164279
(Age: 9-12) 'I knew middle school was going to be challenging, but I never expected to end up DEAD in the computer lab, wearing a SUPERHERO COSTUME, with four slices of PIZZA stuck to my BUTT!' Max Crumbly returns in Middle School Mayhem, and this sequel starts immediately after the cliffhanger scene that ended the first madcap adventures of this dorky teenager. Max is desperately trying to find his dad's lost comic book and stop three thugs determined to steal the school's computers.
In Russell's familiar notebook style, punctuated by her quirky comic illustrations, Max reveals his crazy thoughts, mad antics and silly humour. Dressed in his best friend Erin's ice princess costume, he has to think quickly and creatively to stop the thieves from leaving the building with the new computers. Why he doesn't ring the police is a little hard to take, instead he sends Erin the school's computer password to allow her remote control access to the PA system, lights and security cameras. With his limited battery life in his cell phone, every minute counts as they coordinate turning off the lights and turning on the sprinkler system. The school cafeteria scene is filled with slapstick comedy as one of the thieves Moose accidentally butt-dials the stove burner, cools his burning pants at the kitchen sink, then endures being slimed, his head is stuck in the bucket and finally being plastic-wrapped.
Max's unique point of view is strong, he stops to contemplate his super-hero life, invent crazy raps and totally, totally (his favourite word) take the fans along on his crazy journey. Of course, Russell ends with another cliffhanger ensuring her audience is committed to the series.
Rhyllis Bignell

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