First book in the hilarious Monster Max series
Max is an unusual 9-year-old. He can turn himself into a huge, bin- eating monster by BURPING. Being a monster is brilliant, unless he sneezes (which turns him back) and he finds himself far from home in just his pants.
Max decides to be more responsible and ‘protect and do good stuff’, starting with catching a local vandal. But his nemesis, Peregrine, is convinced Max is the vandal, and invents his POOP (Portable Operating Omni Prison) machine to trap him. If Peregrine can prove the truth, Max and his mother could be put in a zoo … or worse. Max will have to use his wits as well as his strength to catch the real culprit, before Peregrine can catch him…
Boys like elves, too
Pretty much ever since I’ve had anything to do with the hugely fun and rewarding world of writing children’s books, word is boys aren’t reading as much as girls.
Assuming that they are mostly right, then how do we get them to read?
The simple answer is you can’t: because forcing anyone to take part in any cultural event such as a film, play, book … mime workshop, weekend in an expensive-ish spa(ish) hotel where you express your inner child, will almost always produce the opposite reaction as the one intended. And the alternative, in the form of gentle cajoling, is just background noise to small boys.
This worries publishers and parents alike – and writers (perhaps male writers, especially) are under a certain amount of pressure to bear this in mind. And we certainly do (as we sip champagne from silver goblets in our ivory towers or travel by helicopter for three bottle lunches with our bank managers).
Well, I did: we had two boys first; who both loved to be read to, then ploughed through early middle grade stories with pictures … and then utterly lost interest aged 11 or 12. It’s as much as we can do to get them to read text messages that are wholly in their interest to pay attention to: usually asking which part of town they want to be picked up from.
Then it occurred to me to wonder – did they ever read as much as girls? If I think about myself aged 11 I was all but illiterate. When I did read it was Asterix or Airfix instructions and very little else.
I picked up the reading habit later and read pretty much anything and everything. Reading is the only time I shut up.
Monster Max (out Feb 2021) almost certainly is good for reluctant readers and the story might appeal more to boys than girls: perhaps because there’s more physical action than emotional. But that’s as maybe because I also believe the best stories have universal appeal. Whatever your age, sex, persuasion, background, we all essentially come from the same place.
Get boys reading? After a certain age, they’ll probably always read less than girls and we’ll probably always moan, either at them about it or behind their backs (in print, if we really don’t want them to know and so spare their feelings).
But the only answer is to write better stories. And that’s down to us.
Thank you, Robin Bennett and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Aged 21 Robin was all set to become a cavalry officer; aged 21 and a half, he found himself working as an assistant gravedigger in south London wondering where it all went wrong. Robin has gone on to start and run over a dozen successful businesses from dog- sitting to cigars, tuition to translation. The list is quite exhausting. Robin is married with three young children. He spends his time between Pau in the Pyrenées and Henley-on- Thames.
Monster Max and the Bobble Hat of Forgetting is Robin’s first book with Firefly Press publishing in February 2021. He has also written other books for children, published with Monster Books.
Rampaging Rugby, first in the Stupendous Sports non-fiction series for 7-11-year-olds will publish August 2021.
Win a Monster Max Cuddly Toy
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only, welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.