cover image Max the Brave

Max the Brave

Ed Vere. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4926-1651-1

Vere (Bedtime for Monsters) introduces a small but brave black kitten who is ready to chase some mice. The problem? “Max the Brave just needs to find out what a mouse looks like.” So begins a long chain of interactions with a fly, fish, flock of birds, and other animals, all of whom explain that they are not the mouse Max is looking for and send him on his way. When Max does meet a mouse, the rodent proves to be a quick thinker: “Who me?” he says. “I’m Monster!... But I did just see Mouse asleep over there.” After an unpleasant run-in with a giant green creature that resembles a mutant pickle, Max decides that chasing monsters may be preferable to chasing mice. Vere sets the action against empty, construction-paper-colored backdrops that keep a tight focus on Max and the animals he meets. Both the punchy text and illustrations command attention, and plenty of readers will get a kick out of feeling superior to Max, whose bravery is surpassed only by his gullibility and naiveté. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)