LONGLIST REVIEW: Max and Bird

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Max is a kitten and kittens chase birds.

Bird is a bird and birds get chased by kittens.

This is a story about how the most unlikely friendship begins…

 

When Max meets Birds, Max wants to be Bird’s friend: he wants to chase Bird and then eat Bird up (Bird looks like a tasty snack). But, Bird does not like being chased and certainly does not want to be eaten up. Well, not yet anyway… at least not until she has learned to fly. Bird reminds Max that friends should not eat each other. Bird explains friendship to Max, “Friends have fun together and help each other out…” and then proposes a compromise: if Max teaches Bird how to fly then they could talk about the chasing and ‘other stuff.’

Eager to get to the chasing and ‘other stuff,’ Max explains the principles of flight to Bird but it turns out that Max doesn’t know how to fly either. So, Max and Bird do what all kittens and their feathered-friends do when they want to learn how to fly: go to the library. Max and Bird then study and read until their brains were full and they knew exactly how to fly – concentrate, stick out wings, flap! But, despite lots of concentrating and flapping, Bird can not fly. The pair even consult an expert (a rather rude pigeon who turns out to be a complete show off) but Pigeon is no help. Even when it seems that their goal is unreachable, Max and Bird do not give up and eventually Bird takes off (it is a rather short, wobbly flight) but he did it.

Now, a deal’s a deal. Max helped Bird to learn how to fly so…

Max has to concentrate very hard. What does he really want: a friend or a tasty snack?

This book is filled with so many valuable messages: friends help each other; libraries have the answer to everything; practice makes perfect; keep trying; believe in yourself; don’t eat your friends… each one could be used as a starting point for discussion in class (except maybe the ‘eating friends one. Hopefully children already know this bit!) and explored in greater detail. Both Max and Bird display resilience, grit and an open mind-set, qualities that we try to instill in children as they approach new learning. They work incredibly hard and do not give up, even when it is tough. When finally Bird succeeds, they still keep practicing so that Bird can become better and better. It would be interesting to explore how experts went about learning their skill – musicians, athletes, writers. Children can share skills that they are becoming experts in and help the class to learn how to do the skill. They could write instructions or a guide to the skill or produce a demo film. Alongside this, it would also be an opportunity to discover how animals learn the skills of survival: are they taught or are they born with the ability. How does a baby bird learn to fly? This would link with parts of the science curriculum especially those that focus on adaptation and evolution and inheritance. Max and Bird could also be used to inspire children to write their own story of friendship between two characters who should not get along.

Max is an incredibly loveable character with some serious ‘cattitude’. The simple, vibrant illustrations, filled with delightfully fun details, perfectly capture the action and expression of the two characters. Warmth, wit and charm spill from the pages throughout the story, making Max and Bird perfect for all ages. It is sure to become a firm favourite in classrooms and homes.

Max is a kitten and kittens chase birds.

Bird is a bird and birds get chased by kittens.

This is a story about how the most unlikely friendship begins…

 

When Max meets Birds, Max wants to be Bird’s friend: he wants to chase Bird and then eat Bird up (Bird looks like a tasty snack). But, Bird does not like being chased and certainly does not want to be eaten up. Well, not yet anyway… at least not until she has learned to fly. Bird reminds Max that friends should not eat each other. Bird explains friendship to Max, “Friends have fun together and help each other out…” and then proposes a compromise: if Max teaches Bird how to fly then they could talk about the chasing and ‘other stuff.’

Eager to get to the chasing and ‘other stuff,’ Max explains the principles of flight to Bird but it turns out that Max doesn’t know how to fly either. So, Max and Bird do what all kittens and their feathered-friends do when they want to learn how to fly: go to the library. Max and Bird then study and read until their brains were full and they knew exactly how to fly – concentrate, stick out wings, flap! But, despite lots of concentrating and flapping, Bird can not fly. The pair even consult an expert (a rather rude pigeon who turns out to be a complete show off) but Pigeon is no help. Even when it seems that their goal is unreachable, Max and Bird do not give up and eventually Bird takes off (it is a rather short, wobbly flight) but he did it.

Now, a deal’s a deal. Max helped Bird to learn how to fly so…

Max has to concentrate very hard. What does he really want: a friend or a tasty snack?

This book is filled with so many valuable messages: friends help each other; libraries have the answer to everything; practice makes perfect; keep trying; believe in yourself; don’t eat your friends… each one could be used as a starting point for discussion in class (except maybe the ‘eating friends one. Hopefully children already know this bit!) and explored in greater detail. Both Max and Bird display resilience, grit and an open mind-set, qualities that we try to instill in children as they approach new learning. They work incredibly hard and do not give up, even when it is tough. When finally Bird succeeds, they still keep practicing so that Bird can become better and better. It would be interesting to explore how experts went about learning their skill – musicians, athletes, writers. Children can share skills that they are becoming experts in and help the class to learn how to do the skill. They could write instructions or a guide to the skill or produce a demo film. Alongside this, it would also be an opportunity to discover how animals learn the skills of survival: are they taught or are they born with the ability. How does a baby bird learn to fly? This would link with parts of the science curriculum especially those that focus on adaptation and evolution and inheritance. Max and Bird could also be used to inspire children to write their own story of friendship between two characters who should not get along.

Max is an incredibly loveable character with some serious ‘cattitude’. The simple, vibrant illustrations, filled with delightfully fun details, perfectly capture the action and expression of the two characters. Warmth, wit and charm spill from the pages throughout the story, making Max and Bird perfect for all ages. It is sure to become a firm favourite in classrooms and homes.

Max is a kitten and kittens chase birds.

Bird is a bird and birds get chased by kittens.

This is a story about how the most unlikely friendship begins…

 

When Max meets Birds, Max wants to be Bird’s friend: he wants to chase Bird and then eat Bird up (Bird looks like a tasty snack). But, Bird does not like being chased and certainly does not want to be eaten up. Well, not yet anyway… at least not until she has learned to fly. Bird reminds Max that friends should not eat each other. Bird explains friendship to Max, “Friends have fun together and help each other out…” and then proposes a compromise: if Max teaches Bird how to fly then they could talk about the chasing and ‘other stuff.’

Eager to get to the chasing and ‘other stuff,’ Max explains the principles of flight to Bird but it turns out that Max doesn’t know how to fly either. So, Max and Bird do what all kittens and their feathered-friends do when they want to learn how to fly: go to the library. Max and Bird then study and read until their brains were full and they knew exactly how to fly – concentrate, stick out wings, flap! But, despite lots of concentrating and flapping, Bird can not fly. The pair even consult an expert (a rather rude pigeon who turns out to be a complete show off) but Pigeon is no help. Even when it seems that their goal is unreachable, Max and Bird do not give up and eventually Bird takes off (it is a rather short, wobbly flight) but he did it.

Now, a deal’s a deal. Max helped Bird to learn how to fly so…

Max has to concentrate very hard. What does he really want: a friend or a tasty snack?

This book is filled with so many valuable messages: friends help each other; libraries have the answer to everything; practice makes perfect; keep trying; believe in yourself; don’t eat your friends… each one could be used as a starting point for discussion in class (except maybe the ‘eating friends one. Hopefully children already know this bit!) and explored in greater detail. Both Max and Bird display resilience, grit and an open mind-set, qualities that we try to instill in children as they approach new learning. They work incredibly hard and do not give up, even when it is tough. When finally Bird succeeds, they still keep practicing so that Bird can become better and better. It would be interesting to explore how experts went about learning their skill – musicians, athletes, writers. Children can share skills that they are becoming experts in and help the class to learn how to do the skill. They could write instructions or a guide to the skill or produce a demo film. Alongside this, it would also be an opportunity to discover how animals learn the skills of survival: are they taught or are they born with the ability. How does a baby bird learn to fly? This would link with parts of the science curriculum especially those that focus on adaptation and evolution and inheritance. Max and Bird could also be used to inspire children to write their own story of friendship between two characters who should not get along.

Max is an incredibly loveable character with some serious ‘cattitude’. The simple, vibrant illustrations, filled with delightfully fun details, perfectly capture the action and expression of the two characters. Warmth, wit and charm spill from the pages throughout the story, making Max and Bird perfect for all ages. It is sure to become a firm favourite in classrooms and homes.

Max and Bird by Ed Vere

Puffin