Friday 4 October 2019

The Quest Diaries of Max Crack

The Quest Diaries of Max Crack written and illustrated by Jules Faber (Pan Macmillan) PB RRP $12.99 ISBN 9781760783907

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is a visually appealing novel for readers aged 9+ years insofar as it is presented as an exercise book with lined pages. As well, the entire book is not the conventionally presented book with pages of printed chapters. Instead, the words look hand-printed and there are illustrations, with cartoon characters, on every page. Faber makes use of lists, speech balloons and much more so the book looks immensely interesting and appealing.

The story is told from the point of view of the protagonist Max Crack who lives with his family in Piddown. In introducing himself, he lists four embarrassing things he’s done, such as ‘farted on the cat’ and ‘drank Dad’s aftershave and thought I was a ghost’.

The quests to which Max refers are his goals which include making a ‘super’ best friend. This happens on 1 July (events are often dated) when Max almost drowns after being hit on the head by a supermarket trolley, but is saved by a boy, Frankie, who is one of ten children (all featured and named in illustrated break-out boxes).

There’s lots to read in this amusing and quirky book, including visual asides (such as how to dogpile and what a dinosaur glow man looks like). Max and Frankie undertake many adventures including selling comics at a school fete, searching for buried treasure and solving mysteries. Using a list at the start of the year, Max manages to solve all his quests and makes a best friend along the way. Highly recommended.

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