Meet Max Crumbly. Things he likes: superheroes, comics, writing wicked raps, drawing – and maybe Erin Madison. Things he hates: Doug ‘Thug’ Thurston, panic attacks, his ‘socially dysfunctional bladder’ (yup, it’s the worst) and dark, enclosed spaces – so imagine how terrible it is that Thug STUFFED HIM IN A LOCKER. Oh, and he also hates the weird anchovy snack his Grandma eats, but it’s not immediately relevant to the situation.
Max also has some friends you may have heard of: Brandon Roberts and Nikki Maxwell! Locker Hero: The Misadventures of Max Crumbly is written by Rachel Renée Russell, the author behind the bestselling Dork Diaries series starring Nikki and her friends. The Dork Diaries have been massive worldwide bestsellers with #11 due out in October. Like Dork Diaries, Locker Hero is set out like a notebook with Max directly addressing the reader:
“I know some of you are probably thinking… Is this guy for real? Is he actually writing all of this from INSIDE his LOCKER? I totally understand and appreciate your scepticism…”
Max is a very relatable character. He has asthma, occasional panic attacks, gets nervous around girls, isn’t the best at PE and experiences bullying. For the most part, the problems Max faces are ones lots of real kids do: how do I avoid my big sibling’s bad moods? Can I look cool in my cousin Wilbur’s hand-me-down jeans? Should I stand up to the bully?
Max may not the cool kid, but he is the brave one. Brave because he keeps being himself, even when it feels like he doesn’t quite fit in. And then, after a strange series of events at the school after dark, Max finds himself having to be more than a little bit fearless. He also dreams big, and likes conjuring up stories (ok, so there’s not a lot to do in the locker) and his drawings are always creative and funny.
This series will definitely appeal to Wimpy Kid, Weirdo, Big Nate or Tom Gates fans with its offbeat sense of humour. We particularly enjoyed Max’s raps like this one, about being a Middle School Zombie: Although I’m undead, my rhymes are hot/ because unlike my corpse, my skills don’t rot (read more of it here).
The notebook style allows for funny, comic style illustrations on nearly every page, an easy-to-read font and quite short chapters which makes it ideal for primary schoolers reading independently. Although the pace is so quick, readers may just race right through anyway.
Once kids do delve into Max’s world, there’s lots to enjoy. Like Nikki, Max has an awesome presence online, and you can check out his website here to read Max’s blog, play games, read comics, and even interact with other fans in the community.
Locker Hero is only the start of the series and it does end on a bit of a cliffhanger – so be sure to keep an eye out for more Misadventures!
We recommend the Max Crumbly series for ages 9- 12. If you want to check out the book online to see if it’s right for your reader, read an except here.