But the whole idea seems a bit forced.
The story is kind of abrupt, and it’s confusing why Max goes to Red Mountain and why he comes back.
The lesson he learns is important, but it’s confusing how he learns the lesson. Unfortunately, a children’s book needs to be smarter than pretty pictures and hitting a child over the head with a lesson.
What’s the deal with Red Mountain? Why did Max want to go there? Why is it bad? Why did he leave?
Of course, it’s important to not hurt others. It’s important to help people and make them feel like they belong.
But the whole point of children’s books is to show why these things are important. Not just tell. And ultimately that’s why this book is lacking. (Well, it doesn’t help when characters have no motivation for what they do – yes, even in children’s book.)
Thanks to NetGalley and Rowman & Littlefield for a copy in return for an honest review.