Max and Voltaire: Getting To Know You
In her first in a large format illustrated chapter book series for early fluent readers, author Mina Mauerstein Bail has written a two-part story (each with six chapters) that encourages readers to get along with others.
In part one, readers are introduced to a kitten named Max that has been adopted by the Cupcake family. The Cupcake family has a dog at their home, so Max resides permanently in the bakery they own. While he enjoys the company and snacking on croissants during the daytime, he becomes lonely during the evenings when the Cupcake family return home to their dog. Madame Cupcake finds him a new home with a lovely customer, Madame Rosemarie, who already has three cats. Each cat has their own personality and, through mutual respect, all of the cats learn to adjust to each other's traits so that they can all get along. Something they all have in common, however, is a fear of dogs.
In part two, Madame Rosemarie adopts a dog that was in need of more attention than his family could offer. This dog is aptly named after a famous French writer, Voltaire, who wrote about tolerance and respect for others. Once again the cats must adjust to this newcomer and in doing so they learn that there is no need to be afraid of others simply because they are different.
The author has used short sentence structures for beginner readers; and color illustrations break up the text of the easy to digest chapters. While taking in a story of new beginnings and the power of kindness and helping others, children will enjoy the fun names (Madame Cupcake), the snippets of humor that are interjected throughout, and the French backdrop and glossary of French words.
Max & Voltaire: Getting To Know You would make a nice read-aloud for a group setting and is also suited to individuals who are newly independent readers. - The Children's Book Review/www.the childrensbookreview.com
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