Max the Brave
By Ed Vere
“Max is a kitten who chases mice. But what is a mouse?”
Children of all ages know that cats chase mice. If they have seen Tom and Jerry, or some new age version of the same, they know this to be fact. But how is it that cats learn what a mouse is so they can fulfill this duty? Ed Vere addresses this age-old question in the adorable picture book, Max the Brave, which follows the lovable kitten, Max, as he repeatedly follows misguided advice in his quest for answers.
Vere is no stranger to children’s literature. In the past, he has been nominated for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Kate Greenaway Award. So it is really no surprise that his newest story caught my attention right away.
His endearing and uncluttered illustrations of a little black kitten, Max, are entertaining for readers of all ages. I found myself cooing and chuckling at the character’s heartwarming antics throughout the read.
His incredible use of “white space” (that isn’t really white) and text placement make the simple layout easy to follow while still beautiful to look at. It always amazes me how illustrators can capture such expression in an animal that is simply a black blob with eyes and a tiny, purple speck of a nose, however Vere does it impeccably.
The narrative is simple and repetitive, perfect for pre or early readers. It is a book young children can laugh at and even relate to as they discover new things in their world every day. While adults cannot help but be charmed by this charismatic kitten, children will no doubt be amused by his mistakes, and quite possibly identify with his determined search to learn about his environment and his place within it.