Max + Xam
Max + Xam
Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar. Swindon: Child’s Play (International) Ltd, pb 978 1 7862 8086 2, 2020, £6.99, 32pp.
Picture book, fiction, 2-5 years
Picture books featuring people and animal characters abound – so it’s refreshing to see two lively, rounded little characters who are less easy to categorise, but packed with personality.
Meet Max and Xam, next-door neighbours and best friends who, after they fall out one day, set about trying to prove who is the most popular. In an age of ‘fake news’, this story gently presents the idea of ‘fake friends’, showing them to be a hollow and dispiriting company, however numerous, compared to the joy of having a real, caring and entertaining buddy.
Parents will recognise many of the lines in the text, such as ‘you started it’, and adults and children alike will respond to the charm and humour of the illustrations.
There is a true vibrancy in author/illustrator Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar’s style and particularly effective use of contrast to evoke emotions, times of day or night, and moments of drama. Her colour palette is warm and soft, with plenty of white space making this an enjoyable visual experience.
This is a fun and engaging picture book that tackles a sometimes tricky topic – saying sorry and making up after a row – with the lightest of touches. Perfectly age-appropriate for 2-5-year-olds who are starting to learn about friendship, Hofmann-Maniyar’s delightful characters Max and Xam both come (equally!) highly recommended.
Review by Dr Kate Lee