Cover image for Superhero Max
Superhero Max
David, Lawrence.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday Book for Young Readers, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A second-grade boy has trouble fitting in at his new school, until he wears his Captain Crusader costume for Halloween.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.7 0.5 65703.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Wiffle Biffle! These words turn Max into a superhero. But can a regular boy ever learn to be himself? It's almost Halloween, and Max still doesn't have any friends at his new school. So when the teacher invites all the kids to come in costume for the big day, Max knows just what he'll be. He becomes Captain Crusader, Superhero. It's a game he loved playing with his old friends, and now his classmates all want to play with him too. Captain Crusader fights all sorts of villains. He's liked and needed by everyone. But when Max persists in being a superhero--costume and all--after October 31st, the kids start to lose interest. Max pouts and acts out. His family begins to worry that he isn't himself anymore. Can Max leave his superhero games behind long enough to see whether the kids like him for who he really is?

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 2. Max Pilner, a second-grader in a new school, finds it difficult to make friends. Recess time is the worst, so he plays alone, imagining himself to be the brave Captain Crusader. When Halloween arrives, Max wears his Captain Crusader costume to school and becomes the hit of the playground. He thinks he can retain his popularity by wearing his costume the next day, but the other kids think he's just weird. After several days the costume is tattered and dirty, and Max's reputation at school is also in tatters. Finally, Max's dad takes away the costume, forcing his son to go to school in ordinary clothes. Of course, at the story's end, Max learns he can still make friends without going the Captain Crusader route. Much of the humor in this nicely paced story comes from King's goofy, angled drawings of comical bugs and people, whose big mouths, heads, and incredibly wide-set eyes add a cartoonish quality. A good choice for read-alouds and group discussions. --Todd Morning

Publisher's Weekly Review

A new kid in school goes to imaginative lengths to win friends in this familiar-themed tale about acceptance. On Halloween, Max Pilner s Captain Crusader costume is the hit of such second-grade recess games as Giant Bug Attack and Wild Animal Land. Captain Crusader chased giant bugs,... saved animals from a raging forest fire, and used his supersonic beam to cure all the patients at Happy Hollow Hospital. Not realizing that clothes don t make the boy, Max wears his masked outfit well after the holiday. David s (Beetle Boy) premise stretches credibility: Max keeps wearing his tattered costume in order to fit in with his peers, yet he rejects their offers to play games that don t require a superhero persona. Names like Happy Hollow Elementary School and a teacher called Ms. Slumber give the story a somewhat stock quality, but the book is notable for its single-parent household (it s Dad who makes breakfast, washes dishes and helps Max realize it s time to hang up the superhero attire). Full-color spreads feature an off-kilter look; the horizon tilts just enough to give the scene a jarring, quirky appearance. The characters also have a peculiar look, sporting King s (Odd Velvet) trademark round heads on pencil-thin necks, with eyes on the far sides of their faces and toothy grins that often resemble growling shouts. An odd little tale that speaks to the insecurity and playground pressures children feel. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-New to the second grade at Happy Hollow Elementary School, Max has no friends at recess. Things improve on Halloween when his older brother helps him design a Captain Crusader outfit. He wins the admiration of his classmates, and is finally invited to join the playground fun. Unfortunately, the newly popular Captain wants to crusade in his attire every day. When the kids tire of superhero play, Max is still clinging to the role, and trouble ensues: the Captain has a tantrum and Dad is called to the scene. The next morning, the child must wear jeans, but a little humor and a touch of flexibility save the day. King's playful caricatures (oversized heads, with wide expanses between the tiny eyes) and fishbowl perspectives contribute to the intensity of both the humor and the drama. The author describes the children's imaginary play in perfectly plausible tones, and his matter-of-fact sentences are well paced. Teachers and parents will welcome this title for its realistic, yet ultimately positive, treatment of what it's like to be or have a new kid in class, and single dads may appreciate the successful all-male household.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.