Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Max Disaster: Alien Eraser to the Rescue

Max Disaster: Alien Eraser to the Rescue

Marissa Moss
Illustrator:   Marissa Moss 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 10
Candlewick, 2009   ISBN: 978-0763635770

There is a girl in Max’s class who has a notebook that she writes in. In it she describes, in great detail, what is going on in her life. Max thinks that this is boring, so he is going to use this book to write about things that interest him. He has “so many great ideas,” and it is important that he writes his ideas down before he can forget them. Max also likes to do experiments and build inventions, so he also decides to use his book to write about the experiments he conducts, and the inventions he builds, just like real scientists do.

Max’s first entry in his book is a description of an experiment. He microwaves a marshmallow and then describes in words and pictures what he sees. Of course, he also throws in some cartoon-like drawings, and he observes that his experiment annoys his mother because of the mess he makes. Max’s father tries to be “the voice of reason,” and then Max’s parents start fighting.

Max goes on to describe the erupting volcano experiment that he and his friend Omar do in class, and how they make a collection of eraser soldiers and eraser aliens. Then Max creates an Alien Eraser comic strip.

Try as he might, Max cannot avoid noticing that his parents are fighting a lot. He wants to talk to someone about what is going on, but does not know how to go about doing this. He does not feel able to talk to Omar about what is happening, so instead he finds a way to sweeten up his older brother Kevin so that he can ask him. Though Kevin does let Max into his room, he does not really have anything insightful to say about their parents. Max begins to wish that he could invent a “Prevent-a-divorce machine.” If only there was something he could do to fix his parents’ problems.

All too often, children feel helpless when they see their parents going through problems. They wonder if they are somehow responsible for what is happening, and they worry about what will happen to them if their parents split up.

In this cleverly crafted book, Marissa Moss uses a journal type format to show us how one boy, Max, reacts when his parents start to have marital problems. With great sensitivity she explores Max’s feeling of confusion and worry, and she shows us how his imagination (or maybe his alien eraser friend) is able to help him navigate some very troubled waters.

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