Max the Brave
Ed Vere’s Max the Brave is reminiscent of P. D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? Told in a similar style to Mr. Eastman, Max, the title hero, is a little black cat who wants to be known as a ferocious mouse chaser. But Max has never seen a mouse, so he must find out what one looks like.
Max approaches various animals around his home and outside, asking “Are you a mouse?” Each animal points him in a direction where they last saw a mouse until Max comes to a mouse and asks the would-be fatal question. Interestingly, the mouse denies his identity and says he is a monster. So Max keeps on his journey and comes across a sleeping monster that he declares is a mouse. Trying to wake the “mouse” that is a monster, Max gets swallowed then spit out, so he returns home, deciding he doesn’t want to chase mice, instead, he will chase “monsters” (what the mouse said he was).
The book is simply told with short sentences, repetition, and bright colored pages with contrasting illustrations that look like construction paper cutouts and are delightfully childlike. The layout is well done, and the text and character expressions are lively. This is a simple and appealing story for children preschool age through second grade, perfect for learning to read or story time for the very young.