Max Champion and the great race car robbery by Alexander McCall Smith
Ill. by Kate Hindley. Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2018. ISBN
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Themes: Motor car racing. Criminals. Values. Good versus evil. When Max discovers that his grandfather was the inventor of the Champion motor cars he is stunned to discover that the greedy Mr Grabber had stolen his ideas and his car, Arabella, many years ago. Max decides to try and find a way to get back what his grandfather had lost.
Even though the Champions are poor they are very happy and always honest. Grandfather Gus is philosophical about the loss of his inventions, his mother works hard at her sandwich making business and Max mows lawns to help out. When his mother has to make a mountain of sandwiches for Mr Grabber, Max helps out and it is in the Grabber's mansion that Max uncovers some of the secrets that the Grabbers have been keeping.
This is feel good story of the poor but honest Champion family overcoming the rich and dishonest Grabber family, as Max manages to overcome all the difficulties he faces, and in a wild car race, finally wins out. Kate Hindley's illustrations bring the story to life and add an element of humour that children will delight in.
Permeating the story are the values of decency and honesty, working hard doing the right thing. Grandfather Gus has some very pertinent advice to give Gus amidst the excitement of his hiding from the villains, a thrilling car chase and winning out in the end.
This would make a great read aloud story and give rise to much discussion when values are being examined in the classroom.