Alexander McCall-Smith has long been a favoured writer for adults for me – in fact I’m listening to one of his audio books in the daily commute at present.
I’ve bought several of the young Precious series for the library as so many of my Juniors just love detective stories but this is the first of his children’s books I’ve read that is on a different topic altogether.
Max lives with his mum and his grandpa in a small house just big enough for them all – though Grandpa Gus sleeps in his own little shed. They don’t have much money but they do have a lot of optimism and a whole lot of love for each other. Grandpa fixes older style cars in his rundown workshop, Mum has a busy sandwich making business and even Max helps out by mowing lawns as well as washing cars that are in for repairs.
One day Max discovers that Grandpa Gus once had a very successful race car building enterprise and also a well-regarded rally driving career until it was all taken away by the ghastly Grabber family – rich, powerful and out-and-out cheats.
When an opportunity presents itself for Max to prove the nefarious actions of the Grabbers he seizes it without hesitation.
This is a simple feel-good story for newly independent readers that resonates with themes of honesty, hard work and confidence. Young readers will enjoy seeing the Grabbers get their come-uppance and as read-aloud would provide much discussion on ethical behaviour and values.
Recommended for readers from around Year 2 upwards.
An activity pack can be found here.