In reverse alphabetical order, this review covers two different books about building, about trying and not giving up.
In Made by Maxine by Ruth Spiro, we see our heroine trying to figure out how to make things bigger and better. When she gets a pet fish (who she thinks is waving at her), she builds it the biggest, funniest, craziest fish tank as the bowl she had for him was just too dull. And how proud both are of it! That is until the class pet parade is coming up and the tank is too big to move. And like with building the tank in the first place, our gal learns all the ways making a moving tank will not work, but that just means she is that much closer to finding the answer!
Holly Hatam’s has some detailed and groovy illustrations. There is a lot going on with the images, so they compliment the energy of the story. And that energy is fast paced.
If there is any not liking a part, it is that I am not liking the idea that Maxine uses things around the house without permission (the vegetables and her old toys) but the concept of “thinking big and doing it” is a nice message. The humor about the fish: what it is or is not doing or understanding (after all he is a fish and it is hard to tell) is amusing and in some ways, more adult but totally kid friendly.
Do you like the Property Brothers and any of their shows (last count around 132 I think)? Then this is the book for you. Builder Brothers: Big Plans by the twins Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott takes on the message like the above book. They want to build something grand and have to find a way to do it! Even if they adults just laugh.
Like with Maxine, I like the message of dreaming big and doing big things. I like the sibling dynamic between the brothers. It is similar to their dynamic on the shows, but kid friendly. They also have some “twin powers” (they think the thought of the other twin before he has the thought to start with) to give them a little character. And at the end, the building project (a birdhouse that might not be a elaborate as the one they made) sounds like a fun project that will allow you to spend a day with your children/grandchildren or even a small classroom/group.
The illustrations of Kim Smith are polished and neat. Modern technology at its best by the looks of things. I do like the fact that the castle/tree house of their original plans never made it off the ground as it was simply too unrealistic. And when they made their “mistake” in building the dog house, it turns out that it was not such a mistake after all. They show how to keep trying and even improving it in the end.
Both books are slightly gender specific (Maxine for girls and Property Brothers for boys) but anyone can enjoy them. And both lend itself to older children and read aloud. It would work one-on-one or a classroom setting. And the Scott brothers have sequels and is part of the TV to book series that has such books as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and X-Files. Both of which I have read and a few to add to the TBR list a movie to book such as, Back to the Future: The Classic Illustrated Storybook, The Karate Kid and ET