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Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things: Mister…
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Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things: Mister Max 1

by Cynthia Voigt

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1582276,038 (3.74)13
  1. 00
    The Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers (amysisson)
    amysisson: Both are series about resourceful boys solving mysteries (or puzzles) in exotic and/or historical settings
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Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things is the first book in the Mister Max series by Cynthia Voigt. Ms. Voigt is the author of Dicey’s Song, which won the Newbery Medal in 1983, and A Solitary Blue, which was a Newbery Honor Book in 1984. Her book, The Callender Papers, won the Edgar Award in 1984.

Max Starling is a twelve-year-old boy, who lives with his parents, William and Mary, in the Old City part of Queensbridge in the early years of the last century. His grandmother, the town’s librarian, lives in the house next door. William and Mary Starling are actors, and they own the Starling Theatrical Company. One Sunday, the Starlings receive a letter from the Maharajah of Kashmir inviting them to come to India and teach his subjects how to act and perform plays. On the day that they are to leave, Max wants to have one last lesson with his art teacher, so he asks to meet his parents at the harbor before the ship is to sail. After his lesson, Max arrives at the docks early, but can find no trace of the ship he is to board or his parents. Discouraged, Max receives a note from his father indicating that he is to return home and wait with his grandmother for his parents’ return. Grammie does some research and finds that there is no such person as the Maharajah of Kashmir in India and that there is no ship with the name on which Max’s parents were to sail. As they do not know where Max’s parents are, nor when they are to return, Max and Grammie soon realize that Max must earn some money for food and other necessities. Max finds a young boy in the park, whom he accidentally returns to his mother, and she recommends him to others. Dressing up using his family’s theatrical clothing, Max quickly starts to get jobs such as finding a lost dog, a lost priceless spoon, and other things. But can he find his lost parents?

This book is recommended for grades five through eight. I found it to be a fun and easy read. The illustrations by Iacopo Bruno were very nicely done and added to my enjoyment of the book. I felt that the author showed a lot of imagination in the different activities that Max took on and the various costumes that he wore for each. A few major plot themes had some synchronicity to them, which an aware reader would soon connect, but which took Max nearly the length of the book to do so. That does not mean that Max was unintelligent. He called himself a “Solutioneer” and worked out most things in an intelligent manner, without much outside help, but sometimes with a little bit of luck. The book had just the right amount of action versus brain work, I thought.

I think this book would be enjoyed by both girls and boys in the 9-12 age range. Although there are two more books in this series, I will probably not read them. However, I will highly recommend them to my 10-year-old son as I think they would be very enjoyable to him.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  rretzler | Feb 16, 2016 |
This was utterly, absolutely charming, and I look forward to reading a lot more. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Dec 30, 2015 |
Enjoyable read -- reminiscent of "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" (a child is left alone to fend for himself in the world & must figure out how to survive & solve the mystery of his parents' disappearance without alerting the dreaded "authorities.") ( )
  mfdavis | May 20, 2015 |
Thanks to netgalley.com and Random House Children's for allowing me access to this title.

I have always loved Cynthia Voight ever since I read the Tillman Cycle when I was young. Her wonderful writing and storytelling continues here.

I loved the world building and the characters were fantastic. Overall, I thought this was a great book. My only issue was that I didn't see a 12 year-old being able to pull of the character changes that Max does. There are few boys his age that would be able to look older at all, let alone as middle-aged men. Perhaps 14 would have fit better.

A great read I will definitely recommend for those who love a good mystery in a historical setting. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
The premise given for The Book of Lost Things sounded so promising I couldn’t resist swooping up this middle grade title. As expected with a number of MG books I had to suspend belief / disbelief and just roll with things no matter how silly I felt things were​ getting. In this respect, I definitely believe this one a title for children, and not one that would work well as a cross over. At least not for me personally. When I read middle grade fiction I approach it trying to put myself into a preteen mindset of – will my nephews enjoy this? Will I enjoy reading this with my child? In this case I would say kids would likely enjoy this, but an adult would be less likely to.

Unfortunately, The Book of Lost Things falls into the very small realm of books I can’t bring myself to continue. We start off with Max’s parents getting kidnapped and he is determined to save them. But he gets so completely sidetracked constantly that it makes me wonder what was really the main point. Finally I decided it just wasn’t for me because I found myself not caring.​

But here are a few people that I know either loved or seriously enjoyed the book. So you don’t have to take my word for it.
  Pabkins | May 2, 2014 |
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Epigraph
"All the world's a stage" - William Shakespeare, As You Like It
Dedication
For MY Mister Max
First words
William Stirling carried the packet back into the dining room, where his wife and son were seated.
Prologue
On a bright Sunday morning in the early years of the last century, a bellhop from the Hotel Excelsior knocked at the front door of 5 Thieves Alley, the home of William and Mary Starling of the Starling Theatrical Company, and their son, Maximilian.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307976815, Hardcover)

Newbery medalist Cynthia Voigt presents a rollicking mystery in three acts!

Max's parents are missing. They are actors, and thus unpredictable, but sailing away, leaving Max with only a cryptic note, is unusual even for them. Did they intend to leave him behind? Have they been kidnapped? 

Until he can figure it out, Max feels it's safer to keep a low profile. Hiding out is no problem for a child of the theater. Max has played many roles, he can be whoever he needs to be to blend in. But finding a job is tricky, no matter what costume he dons.

Ironically, it turns out Max has a talent for finding things. He finds a runaway child, a stray dog, a missing heirloom, a lost love. . . . So is he a finder? A detective? No, it's more. Max finds a way to solve people's problems—he engineers better outcomes for them. He becomes Mister Max, Solutioneer.  

Now if only he could find a solution to his own problems . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:54 -0400)

"When Max's parents leave the country without him, he must rely on his wits to get by, and before long he is running his own--rather unusual--business"--

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