published August 2009 by Scholastic
Max Spaniel is not a dog. In this book, he is a hunter. Of dinosaurs. He traipses around the yard, collecting evidence that will help him create a dinosaur fossil. A bottlecap as an eye, a football for a head, a rake for teeth, a toy fire truck for a knee, etc. With no more than a sentence or two per page, Max will completely captivate young audiences. The illustrations are lush and vibrant - the kind that make kids drool (or is that just me?). I love all the little details Catrow fits on a page - an olive on a toothpick piercing a sandwich on a plate, a lazy cat observing in the background, Popsi and Cola bottlecaps, and a night sky filled with sparkling dots of stars. The illustrations alone will sell this book to kids, but that's not all - Max is such a character. Full of life and curiosity, he will definitely pique kids' imaginations and interests. He's got my attention!
published May 2010 by Scholastic
review copy provided by publisher
Max is back, but this time as a chef, family legacy and all. He partners with the fat cat we saw lurking in the shadows in Dinosaur Hunt to make the special of the day at Max's Restaurant- pizza! But it seems that no one wants to try the special. Instead, a dog asks for chili (and gets a scarf) and another customer who asks for a hot dog gets quite literally just that. Finally, a take-out order comes in for 100 pizzas - Max has a lot of work to do!
If at all possible, I liked this Max book better than the first. I giggled at the silliness and the subtle additions of adult humor - the Gray Spaniel Bus Line and a leaning tower of pizzas. :) Love love love the illustrations again. Glossy watercolor prints make my heart flutter. My favorite page is: "A tummy growls. I growl back." where Max bares his teeth at the customers while flipping a burger, including the cheese, lettuce, tomato, bun, olive, and pickle. The illustrations have that I Spy feel that kids absolutely adore. The one thing I noticed that was different from the first book is the slightly longer text and use of dialogue, but it's still very much an easy reader. Check out the book trailer for more of Max!