Max, Marc Martin (author, illus.), Viking Penguin Books, 2014. CBCA 2015 Early Childhood Notable Book.
‘Max’ is a story of a sweet (and salty) friendship between man and bird, with a key focus on one common theme… A love of chips!
Max the seagull is like other ordinary seagulls – he likes fish, and he likes chips. But what makes him extraordinary is his loyalty to Bob. Bob is the owner of the fish and chip shop, you see. So when Max behaves, he is rewarded. Max and Bob enjoy many good times fishing together, until one day, Bob disappears. After waiting for weeks, Max eventually forgoes his beachside location in search of his long-lost mate. Familiar smells lead him to the city, where he stumbles across a brand new fish and chip shop. Of course, it belongs to Bob! Will Bob recognise Max? Will they remain companions when things have changed?
I love the narrative focus from Max’s perspective, and together with the illustrative details, readers with a discerning eye (and ear) will pick up the emotional clues and reasoning behind the events. Marc Martin won the 2013 Crichton Award for new illustrator, and deservingly so. His eccentric quality of details, shapes, patterns, textures, animated characters, ‘bird’s-eye’ views and vivid watercolours are definately like a delectable feast for the senses.
‘Max’ is an endearing, whimsical tale of friendship and change that is full of zest and salty goodness. It is sure to fly off the shelves into its readers’ hearts, satisfying long after the book has been put down. For children from age three and up.
Ask, have you been to the beach? What kind of things might you see there?
Draw a mind map (or a Fishbone Diagram!) showing each aspect according to different categories, such as animals, food, buildings, people, activities, etc.
Look at the cover. What can you see? What do you know about seagulls? Who do you think ‘Max’ is? Can you add anything else to your mind map after looking at the cover?
What kind of shops can you see in the pictures? Why is Max a bit mischievous? How does Max help Bob fish? Why does Bob seem sad? Where do you think Bob is going? Why?
Do you think Max will find Bob? Will Bob know who he is?
Why did Bob have to close his shop at the beach? Why do you think Max wanted to see Bob again? What are some of the differences between the beachside and the city? How do you think Bob felt when he saw Max again? How did Max feel when he was waiting, and when he found Bob? What has changed and what is still the same? What makes a good friendship?
– Friendship Ladder.
With a partner, discuss / list the activities that you enjoy doing together. Then, using a Ranking Ladder, write them in order from least favourite (at the bottom) to most favourite (at the top).
– Poem / Letter.
Write or draw a friendship poem / picture or a friendly letter to someone you haven’t seen for a while. Eg. An old kinder friend or someone who moved schools. Write about the things you enjoyed doing with that person, and how you feel about their absence in your life.
– Creative Writing.
Write a story about ‘change’. This open-ended topic can relate to many circumstances, including moving room, house or school, losing a loved one, changes in nature, changes in your body, and so on.
Finish the sentence: ‘Max likes ____, _____ and ____.’ Write your own sentence: ‘I like ____, ____ and ____.’ and/or ‘My friend likes ____, ____ and ____.’ Illustrate. Make a class book.
– Number: Fishing Game.
Number Recognition. Write numbers 1-10 on paper fish and attach a paper clip to each one. Using a magnet on a piece of string, ‘catch’ the fish and say the number as you go.
Extension: Addition – record each number caught and add the next number caught to the previous. Eg. 5 and 4 is 9. Continue adding numbers until all the fish have been caught.
– Number: Chip Number Stories.
Use materials, such as pop sticks, pipe cleaners, pencils or paper strips to represent chips. Make up, write and model number stories using addition, subtraction, groups of or shared between (depending on level) about Max and the chips. For example, ‘On Sunday Bob gave Max 2 chips, and on Monday he gave him 3 chips. How many chips is that altogether?’
– Number: Money.
Open up your own ‘Fish and Chip’ shop with a register. Invite customers to buy your food using play (or cut out paper) money. Label the products with price tags, or write them up on a blackboard. Practise recognising different coins and notes, counting and adding money, and giving change. How much money did you make in a day?
– Space / Location: Model City.
Max flew over the ocean, trees, around the city and above tall buildings in search of Bob. Make a model city with these features. Using prepositional language, instruct a partner to fly a paper seagull to different locations. Eg. ‘Fly Max around the red building.’ ‘Fly Max under the bridge.’ ‘Fly Max over the forest.’
Design and draw your own street map on a grid, showing various features including parks, buildings, houses, trees, rivers and roads. Formulate questions to find a particular feature on the map. Eg. In which grid reference would you find Bob’s Fish and Chip shop? A5.
– Graphs and Data: Favourite Food Survey.
Survey your friends to find out what they like to eat the most. As a class, list the foods and tally the votes once each person has been interviewed. Represent the results as a graph (bar, picture, pie chart), and discuss. What was the favourite food? Least favourite? What does this tell you about the class’s eating habits?
Alternatively, pick your own topic to graph.
– Water Science: Oil and Water Study of pollution / oil spills at the beach / ocean.
Art / Craft.
– Make a paper plate seagull.
Have a go at folding a paper seagull with this origami craft. See how ours turned out!
Paint your own aerial view of the city with watercolours and pencil. Experiment with other media like paper collage from textured paper or magazine cut outs.
– Paint the scene with Bob and Max fishing on the pier, using watercolours for the underwater section.
Make a cardboard box shopping strip with a variety of shops. Don’t forget the fish and chips!
Make a fishing rod and some fish to catch (see Numeracy: Fishing Game activity).
Toss the fish and chips into the seagull’s belly. See the following link for instructions (alternate penguin for seagull).
– Water Activities
Love these chip-looking sponge splash balls from momendeavours.com!
– Gift Wrapping.
Wrap a gift for a friend in fish n chip paper / butcher paper. Decorate and tie ribbon. That’s o-fish-ally a wrap!
Lessons by Romi Sharp.
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
All sourced resources have been credited.
These lessons are for personal and classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial use without written permission.