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Kids’ Book of the Week: The Misadventures of Max Crumbly (Middle School Mayhem) by Rachel Renée Russell

June 13, 2017

middle-school-mayhemRule #1: A superhero must always be prepared.

We have to say Max Crumbly does not follow his own advice. The second in The Misadventures of Max Crumbly, we follow Max’s adventures in the new book Middle School Mayhem  – and mayhem is definitely the right word for Max’s life.

From the beloved Rachel Renée Russell, author of the bestselling Dork Diaries, comes a new series for boys. Dork Diaries having performed so brilliantly, it’s no surprise that Russell has been branching out into books for boys, and they’re just as good as her previous books. The Misadventures of Max Crumbly follows adorably dorky Max Crumbly. Each book is framed as his diary, and the typesetting and doodles thrown into the book, as well as the quirky conversational tone Russell has developed for Max, allow us into the mindset of her title character.

Max is precocious and intelligent. He’s a bit nerdy, sure, and people at school always seem to pick on him. But Max spends his time planning for when he’ll be a famous superhero (and each alter ego has delightful illustrations thrown in) and all those bullies at school will completely regret the day they stuffed him into lockers. Middle School Mayhem picks up where the first book, Locker Hero, left off.

Mean bully Doug Thurston has locked Max in a locker – over a three day long weekend! At first Max prepares for imminent death, but then he manages to find a way out through the air vents. As he’s climbing to safety, he comes across three criminals, planning to rob the school’s new computer lab. This is the moment he’s been waiting for. While afraid, Max knows this is his chance to bring his superhero dreams to life. All he has to do is take down the criminals, get the girl (Erin – who he most certainly does NOT have a crush on), and he’ll be the coolest guy (superhero) in school.

Of course, it’s not that easy. Max doesn’t quite follow his rule. He’s not prepared for this break in, and we open Middle School Mayhem to a very awkward scene – Max has fallen through the air vents and right onto a giant pizza that the criminals have ordered! With three thugs looking down at him, how wiMAXC_logoll Max get out of this one?

Russell will have your kids laughing out loud at Max’s internal dialogue, with seemingly random thought processes (like Max the superhero flipping burgers as a part time job). With great illustrations, fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid won’t be able to put The Misadventures of Max Crumbly down. Ostensibly it’s for boys, but with a strong female character like Erin, kids of any gender will love this series.

We recommend Middle School Mayhem for ages nine and up, and definitely be prepared for Max Crumbly’s next adventure!

Grab your copy here, read our review of the first in the Max Crumbly series, and follow Better Reading Kids on Facebook for more kids book recommendations.


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