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August 10, 2008

Max the Mighty

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Max the Mighty

Author: Rodman Philbrick

Page Length: 166

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Realistic Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: It has been a year since Kevin, Max’s best friend, passed away.  Max is, again, living a lonely life until he sees some boys harassing an 11-year-old girl.  Because of his size, not his demeanor, he scares the boys away, and becomes the hero of Rachel.  Rachel has the nickname of “Worm” because she always has her face in a book.

Worm and Max meet for the second time in the park.  Her mother is wary of Max because of his large size.  After Worm assures her mother that Max is “okay”, her stepfather, the Undertaker drives by and forces Worm and her mom to get in the car with him.  Worm runs back to Max and hands him one of her books, which has her home address in it.  Now, Worm is suspicious.  The Undertaker dresses in black and goes around the town shouting that he is from God and he knows the “Truth”. 

Reluctantly, Max walks to Worm’s house in the address.  There, he witnesses the Undertaker physically abusing Worm’s mom.  He loses control, and bursts through the house, taking Worm away.  This seems like a heroic move, but Max is accused of kidnapping and assault by the Undertaker and is now a fugitive.

Worm convinces Max that if she can just get to Chivalry, Montana, her real dad will be able to help her get away from the Undertaker.  So the twosome, Max the Mighty and Worm, start for Montana.  On their trip, they encounter several colorful characters and build a bond of friendship. 

REVIEW: Rodman Philbrick does an excellent job of writing in the sequel to Freak the Mighty.  He presents new, colorful characters and expands Max’s character into one with more confidence after the passing of Kevin. 

The theme that is developed is one of truth and is used by The Undertaker, Max and Worm (p. 18, 23, 23, 71, 79, 83, and 166). He, also, gives great descriptions of his characters and their dialogues.  It is very easy for the reader to visualize these characters and also the various settings visited as Max and Worm travel across the United States.

This is another book that I would recommend for all ages. 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Sequence of Events, Theme, Character, Conflict, Setting

RELATED BOOKS: Freak the Mighty, Maniac Mc Gee, Walk Two Moons, Others See Us

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: “The Mighty” (1998)


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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