Max Starling comes from a theatrical family. His parents are actors with a definite flair for the dramatic. When they sail away without him, he is left with only a cryptic note. Not only does Max need to solve the mystery of their disappearance, he has to figure out how to survive on his own. The authorities will never let him stay in his home alone, even if his grandmother lives next door. Then there is the problem of money. Who will hire a 12-year-old boy?
Max sets out to find a job. Instead, he encounters a series of people with problems ranging from a wandering baby to lost silver to missing family members. It turns out that Max has a knack for finding solutions. And so, Mister Max, Solutioneer, is born.
This is a fun book for middle grade readers with a delightful cast of characters, including Max who has an uncanny ability to find solutions to difficult problems. What child of that age doesn’t dream of being independent and on their own? The story won’t be believable to more sophisticated readers. But it is charming and quirky and appropriate for its target audience. As a librarian, I enjoyed Max’s resourceful grandmother, the town librarian who called on her professional network to track down information on Max’s parents.
I enjoyed Voigt’s Young Fredle a lot, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity through NetGalley to read an Advance Copy of The Book of Lost Things. I was not disappointed. While the story is in some ways quite different, Mister Max has a similar tone and writing style as well as an endearing main character with a zest for life and adventure.
(I received a free digital advanced copy from NetGalley for review.)