Max and Marla Are Flying Together by Alexandra Boiger. Philomel Books, 9780525515661, 2019
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? The relationship between Max and Marla is a perfect testament to a special friendship. Max is a young boy and his best friend is Marla, a snowy white owl. As with the other Max and Marla books, they love spending time together doing fun activities or absolutely nothing at all. In this story, Max decides he wants to fly along with Marla and the only way he can do that is to make a kite (not really for him to use but he paints a picture of himself on the kite so it seems like he is flying with Marla). As Max eagerly gathers the necessary supplies and begins construction of the kite, we do see Marla being a little less than enthusiastic about this idea. When Max finishes and goes outside to test his kite, the reader soon discovers the problem–Marla does not know how to fly. They decide to try another day and go to bed with different dreams (seen as thought bubbles) of what makes a fun day — Max has visions of flying with Marla but Marla’s idea of fun is quietly reading a book with Max. Due to a strange set of circumstances the next day, Marla ends up tangled in the kite as it takes off in the wind. Even though this was not planned, Marla does realize that she can fly and she wakes up eagerly the next morning to fly with Max.
What I feel is so special about this book is that it features two friends that are understanding and considerate of each other. Max shows compassion with Marla when she tells him she does not know how to fly but Marla is brave because she knows this is important to Max. Also, the illustrations by Alexandra Boiger are adorable and the reader can see a million words in the expressions of Marla.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of three and six, especially if discussed after reading the story. This book is a conversation starter about compassion and understanding in friendships and how children can learn to show these special traits to others around them. This is a great classroom book for educators and children to read and discuss together. This would be an especially good book for a child that might be experiencing some strains in a friendship due to different interests.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone that works with children between the ages of three through six.
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: November 12, 2019