Sardonic cartoon drawings and the play on words cleverly elevate the repetitive, Dick-and-Jane pattern to include humor and suspense. Children, who are frequently subject to the control of others, will delight in seeing Max mirror their emotions and turn the tables. Kids will cheer for the affronted Max in this well-crafted early reader with surprising outcomes.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
With short, simple words and a keen sense of comedic timing, LaRochelle sets up this battle of wits but leaves space for Wohnoutka to work his magic. The expressive gouache illustrations bring the characters to life, deliver much of the book’s humor, and create a blissfully happy ending for Max. Using the predictability of traditional “easy reader” books as a springboard to laugh-out-loud moments, this book is a rewarding choice for kids tackling the not-so-easy task of learning to read.
—Booklist (starred review)
The sharp humor and expressive, highly distilled gouache cartooning offer opportunities for lots of giggles, but the real joy of this stand-out beginning reader comes from watching a genuine underdog speak his truth.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Cartoon-style illustrations expertly support a text with repetition and simple sentences. As Max progresses from confused to canny to competent, children will find a reflection of their own reading journey as well as amusement at the metafictive aspect of a dog wrestling with a book…This humorous, self-referential, fourth wall–demolishing easy reader features a dog who seems to be at the mercy of the storyteller—or is he?
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Short sentences carry a steady rhythm, with word repetition scaffolding language acquisition and offering clever callbacks. Gouache illustrations in subdued hues enliven and support the narrative. This entertaining exploration of words, images, and how they function together to tell a story will be popular with fans of Mo Willems.
—The Horn Book
Using common sight words, LaRochelle constructs a highly amusing story about a dog that’s mistaken for a cat. It gets even wackier when a unicorn shows up.