Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Max at Night by Ed Vere


Way back in 2011, I reviewed a book here called Mr Big, written and illustrated by the very talented Ed Vere. It had delighted – and still delights – my eldest daughter with its heartfelt story and striking illustrations of a friendless gorilla. Fast forward four years and I have a second daughter, who is equally enchanted with Ed Vere’s latest book, Max at Night, which she refers to as ‘Max Moon,’ since she is still very little indeed and happy to choose her own names for things.

My daughter brings this book to me approximately ten times a day and pleads for me to read it to her. I settle her on my lap, we turn the pages together, and she expresses increasing excitement until two-thirds of the way in, whereupon we turn the page to reveal what we have been searching for . . .

‘MOON!’ she exclaims, kicking her legs and laughing in sheer joy. Never have I seen a book have such a strong effect on a child, not even on YouTube. This joy erupts from her in squeals and giggles, followed by wide-eyed wonder and for a few minutes she appears completely blissed out. And then we read it again.

Onto the plot. Max the kitten, our plucky protagonist, is going about his nightly routine of wishing goodnight the things that matter to him. He has just wished the moon goodnight when he realises it is not there. Oh dear, where could it be? Curious and intrepid soul that he is, Max leaves his house on a quest to find it. He climbs over a sleeping dog and up the tallest tree. He scales a building and a mountain, but still he cannot find the moon to wish it goodnight. Eventually, with assistance from the mountain wind, he discovers the lost moon and the moon informs him, very kindly, that it could hear Max all along.

It’s a simple enough story, albeit one that is utterly charming in its simplicity and complemented by suitably quirky and beautiful illustrations, but what IS it about this particular book that evokes such a strong reaction in my toddler? I think part of the appeal is the build-up, the delayed gratification, the fact that we know we will see the moon, but we have to overcome a few hurdles first. We have to do the work to get there.

As a side note, I hadn’t realised that Max at Night is a sequel to the bestselling Max the Brave, which I shall be purchasing this week for a certain toddler.

*Christmas klaxon* If you happen to have a small child to buy for this Christmas, or indeed an older child with an enduring interest in picture books (or adult collector – I’m looking at you, Bookfox Hilary) Max at Night comes very highly recommended.

Paperback, ISBN: 9780723299158, 32 pages, Puffin. £5.99


11 comments on “Max at Night by Ed Vere

  1. Hilary
    November 23, 2015

    You know me so well, Bookfox Lisa – this one has my name on it for sure. Thank you!

  2. Lisa
    November 23, 2015

    A definite asset to your collection, Hilary. And may I say how lovely it is to be back with the Bookfoxes after my VL sabbatical! *waves at everyone* x

  3. Kirsty D
    November 23, 2015

    Sold! My small girl loves the moon and stars, so it sounds like a no-brainer of a Christmas present this year! Thanks. x

  4. Lisa
    November 23, 2015

    Hurray! That’s lovely, Kirsty. Thanks to this book, my littlest is now completely obsessed with the night sky, to the point that if I open the curtains in the evening, she will sit gazing up at the moon in a kind of rapture. I know this phase will probably soon pass, but I am enjoying every moment of it.

  5. Lisa
    November 23, 2015

    (Unintentional pun on *phase* there. Heh.)

  6. Kirsty D
    November 23, 2015

    If she loves the moon, then I recommend The Great Moon Confusion by Richard Byrne (disclaimer: published by the company I work for). My daughter demanded it on repeat for *ages*.

  7. Lisa
    November 23, 2015

    Sold. Thanks for the recommendation! I know she’ll love it.

  8. Cathy746books
    November 23, 2015

    Oh, the twins and I LOVE Mr Big! Will definitely have to check this one out!

  9. Lisa
    November 23, 2015

    High five, fellow Mr Big fan! Our copy is now pretty tattered but still much loved. Hope you enjoy Max at Night!

  10. Jackie
    November 24, 2015

    I have never wanted children, but the anecdotes about yours, Lisa, always makes me see that kids can be fun. I had a big smile as I read about your daughter’s response to this book, I felt like I was there in the room. It was wonderful. I don’t know if adults are capable of such pure joy.

  11. Lisa
    November 24, 2015

    Thank you for this kind comment, Jackie. I’m very glad you enjoyed the review and yes, I agree about the pure joy that children feel. It is a lovely thing to behold.

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2015 by in Entries by Lisa, Fiction: children's.



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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