Monday, 9 November 2020

Max’s Divorce Earthquake


Max’s Divorce Earthquake
by Rachel Brace, illustrated by Angela Perrini (Little Steps Publishing) PB RRP $14.95 ISBN 9781925839142

Reviewed by Nikki M Heath

When Max’s parents tell him they are divorcing, an earthquake shakes his world. He experiences a series of shocks as he moves through his daily life and the changes in his family take hold. Together with his parents, he works through his reactions and feelings until he achieves a new sense of stability.

The text clearly steps through the sorts of feelings children may experience when their parents are divorcing, and how it may affect their behaviour. It scripts conversations between parents and children in responding to those emotions and provides a useful guide for working through various situations. In addition to the earthquake of the title, a range of metaphors is used in both text and illustrations. While this may usually create a risk of diluting clarity and impact, in this case it may be useful to ensure that all children will find a way of thinking about divorce that they can relate to their own experience.

This is not a subtle book and it addresses head-on the emotions a child might expect to feel. It is not driven by plot and is clearly intended as an educational resource for parents as much as children. While a valuable tool, children are unlikely to feel fully invested in his character and story, although they will identify with it. 

This book will be an asset to divorcing parents of children aged 3 to 8 years. It would also be of value to parents of children who have friends experiencing divorce in their family. Other families who are not experiencing or close to divorce may wish to use caution, particularly with children prone to worry. 

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