Max Against Extinction / Warrior Monkeys and the Rescue Quest

It’s good to see new titles in two popular series from Oxford University Press – thanks for sending them for review.

Max Against Extinction
Tim Allman illustrated by Nick Shepherd

Max is back and he’s still determined one way or another, (like Greta, Aditya, Nina and Mari from various parts of the globe) to make the world a better place for everyone.

On the way home from school one day he notices a large new sign on a newly erected fence. There’s a plan afoot for a huge new office development and thus begins operation Save the Bramble Field. But then Max’s mum drops a bombshell: a family holiday abroad. It’s definitely a distraction as the boy starts dreaming of sunny climes, endless ice-cream treats and more; but the planned action must take priority and to that end Max ropes in Nisha and Tessa to help.

Max is ready to take whatever action he can to thwart this development proposal, even if that means getting into headteacher, Mr Costive’s bad books (again!) as well as upsetting his own teacher. But can he persuade his parents that a staycation is the way to go. He’ll certainly do his utmost – tropical curry, padlocks and all.

With a plethora of quirky cartoon-style drawings by Nick Shepherd to liven things up even more (they’re pretty lively anyhow but … ) Tim Allman and Nick are hugely entertaining and the cause is an important one, especially now with planning laws seemingly thrown out of the window. Max’s passion and willingness to own up to his mistakes are irresistible; he’s a great character likely to encourage readers to start and stick to their own plans for making positive changes in the world, whatever they are.

Warrior Monkeys and the Rescue Quest
M.C. Stevens, illustrated by Steve Brown

This is the third story by martial arts expert M.C. Stevens. Here young Suki and Bekko are mighty concerned when they discover that their much loved and respected teacher, Chan is missing after a strange wave hit one of Senshi Island’s beaches. They immediately report his disappearance to Sensei Rika (guardian of the castle) who seems undisturbed by the news, so the two, convinced there’s been a kidnapping, decide to investigate. Soon their suspicions are confirmed and Bekko and Suki are on a quest to rescue Chan from the clutches of Emperor Ming, ruler of seven mountain kingdoms who apparently needs Chan’s help. The quest involves a very dangerous sea voyage, pirates, battling over frozen wastes

and other hazards but so says, Bekko, “Warrior Monkeys know that facing a challenge is part of learning.” Are the two up to the mark though?

Reaching their destination is only part of the challenge, there are further hazards; but with unexpected assistance

together with their own bravery, resourcefulness and determination, along the way perhaps they can succeed in getting master Chan back where he belongs.

Full of drama and suspense, this story will excite readers especially those with an interest in martial arts, yoga and mindfulness; they’ll also be amused by Steve Brown’s illustrations scattered throughout the book.