by Bob Graham
Interests: superheroes, babies, family, flying
Candlewick Press: 2000
Also by this author: Jethro Byrd, Fairy Child ; April and Esme, Tooth Fairies; How to Heal a Broken Wing; “Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate; Buffy – an Adventure Story; Rose Meets Mr. Wintergarten; Queenie the Bantam; Tales from the Waterhole
Max is no ordinary baby, he is a superbaby, born to superhero parents. Even his grandparents were superheroes. So Max’s destiny seems certain. He walks early, he talks early, his only problem is that he just can’t seem to fly. His family is worried, but only a little, and they do their best to offer support and encouragement as the years go. Finally one morning Max spots a little bird falling from a nest and suddenly takes to the air to save it. Now that he’s started, he just can’t seem to stay on the ground. He even hovers over his desk at school. He’s truly flying now, and besides giving his school friends a little lift now and then, he specializes in helping small creatures – kittens, ladybugs, spiders in the bath. As his Mom Madam Thunderbolt puts it, “Let’s call him a small hero. A small hero doing quiet deeds. The world needs more of those.”
In the same vein as Jethro Byrd and April and Esme comes this lovely story of a superhero baby. Graham’s ability to present extraordinary characters in their very ordinary daily life is warmly endearing and very funny. Max’s dad, Captain Lightning, is seen shaving and changing Max’s diaper, while Grandma and Grandpa sit in lawn chairs in front of the lightning-shaped house… wearing their superhero outfits and capes. And Max is increasingly embarrassed when his mom hugs him in front of his friends.
Graham’s books celebrate the quiet, good folks who do their jobs with care and dedication, and enjoy the small pleasures in life. Max is a late bloomer but his family is nothing but encouraging and Max himself seems rather unconcerned about his flightlessness. When he does suddenly take off, the effect is magical. (I also like the fact that his friends at school are not critical, only curious about his family, and the superhero outfit he always wears. One friend even observes that everyone is different in some way.)
I love Bob Graham’s books, they are so gentle and calm, with such witty, observant details. (Ie. grandpa’s medals pinned on his bathrobe.) A book to be enjoyed by all ages.