My book review of 'Max Counts to a Million' by Jeremy Williams
This is a difficult one because it's set in lockdown. It still feels too soon to read about living through the pandemic but actually this is a brilliant book.
Published earlier this month, it's aimed at readers aged seven upwards. It's funny, full of interest and pace, and it's uplifting and energising, all about a boy who counts numbers to cope with all that's happening in his life, and becomes a bit of a hero.
Max is eight and when school is shut early for the holidays it seems great news. But he's noticed that the adults are having hushed conversations when they think he's not listening and there are reports of a virus on the news. Then when his dad, a doctor, says he has to move out of home to work in the hospital, Max starts to feel less happy about the situation.
He gets into an argument with his mum, and she sends him to his room to count to a thousand to calm down. Instead Max says he'll count to a million, he's that angry!
As he starts to count he realises one million is a very big number indeed. But it distracts him from the unease he feels at how strange life has become, and counting turns into an all-consuming goal.
Others get to hear of Max's aim and as he gets more support and encouragement, it's clear that he can turn his efforts into a greater good, raising money and lifting spirits for people in his school and neighbourhood and beyond.
Although this story is set in a difficult time and does touch on the worry of family members becoming ill, it is all lightly and sensitively handled. And Max is a very resourceful, capable and positive boy who has a great sense of humour, so his take on life as the narrator of his story is amusing and entertaining. I loved this book!