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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Road Trip With Max and His Mom, witten by Linda Urban and illustrated by Katie Kath. Houghton Mifflin Harcoourt, Raincoast. 2018. $23.99 ages 7 and up

"Max gave Warren a thumbs-up, because that was the kind of friends they were. He watched Warren walk to the front of the classroom, He was wearing a black turtleneck and a red knit cap and square swimming goggles. On his back he had a pretend oxygen tank that he and his dad had made out of a plastic soda bottle and some tubing. Warren pretended to take a breath ... "
Following up on her first story about Max and his family (Weekends with Max and His Dad (2016), Ms Urban continues with Max's long weekend trip to attend a family reunion with his mom.

Their family is still making the adjustments required when parents separate. Max spends time with both parents, and is beginning to understand their need to be apart while knowing they also love and support him in all the best ways.

Both Max and his mom have planning on their minds. Max is preparing a school assignment that requires him to portray a biographical figure in both costume and content. He has chosen awesome explorer Ernest Shackleton and his adventure in Antarctica. Mom is busy planning a weekend road trip that will take the two to Great-Great Aunt Ivory's 100th birthday celebration. She is making lists and insisting that it will an adventure both will enjoy.

While Max is worried about not spending the weekend with Dad, Mom is reassuring and lets him know that Dad will be fine, they will have fun with her family at the amusement park, and they will get to experience The Big Buckaroo while there. While still at home, Max begins to think of his adventure in comparison to Shackleton's explorations and experiences, and then when he is with his cousins at the reunion. He recognizes that there were things Shackleton did not accomplish, but those that he did were of great importance. That helps Max make a decision about the Big Buckaroo and the fear he feels concerning the ride.

Serene in tone, humorous, endearing and filled with love for family, this is a welcome addition to tales concerning Max and his parents. It is perfect fare for kids graduating to early chapter books and gives them a worthy character to emulate.

"Mom put her hat on her head. Max straightened it.
Mom laughed. "Together We Conquer!" she said.
"Or at least, Together We Get Our Hats on Straight.
How's that for a family motto?"
Max was not sure about the hats part. Or the
conquering part. But he was sure about the
together part."

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