[Reviewed from copy received courtesy of Words in the Works]
Max the Flying Sausage Dog is one of our absolute favorite book series. The subject, the humor, the prose, and illustrations are so perfectly and expertly done and so completely inline with our family’s sense of humor that we’re all enamored with books one, two, and now three.
The hardest my eldest son has ever laughed was when we read the first book of Max the Flying Sausage Dog. He was laughing so hard I had to stop reading and wait for him to calm down. He couldn’t catch his breath, started changing color, and it took several minutes for him to calm down. This didn’t just happen the first time we read it, but consistently each time we read it for months afterwards. Because he knew the plot it actually got worse and he would start laughing even before we got to the one part that had him in hysterics.
Book Three: A Scary Tail is just as fantastic as the first two. It’s a hilarious and wonderfully indulgent story with genuine heart, wit, and wisdom. In A Scary Tail we find Max (a flying dog) and his human, Tom, as they encounter three bullies on the street: Barry, Larry, and Nobby. Tom braces for a genuinely unpleasant experience when all of a sudden the bullies cross the street away from him. Confused, he looks around and realizes that he’s standing in front of the Wicked Witch of Windy Way’s house!
Tom runs home, and when his parents ask him why he looks shaken up, he tells them all about the wicked witch! His parents laugh and then tell him who she really is. She’s Miss Amersham and she’s actually very, very nice. Unfortunately, she has been quite sad since her dog Norman, a Dachshund just like Max, passed away.
After talking with his parents, they all decide that he’s going to do his Scout’s Bob-a-Job at her house and help clean up her garden. (Cub scouts do projects a few times a year to help people and get paid five pence per job / 6 to 8 cents.) Tom likes this idea a lot — if the bullies see him at her house they’ll know that that Tom isn’t afraid of anything! Maybe he’ll get some peace!
At first Miss Amersham is skeptical that Tom will be of any help — but Tom gets to work raking leaves. The leaves prove to be a challenge for Tom and that’s when he has the idea of using Max’s tail as a leaf blower. Powered by sausages, Max’s tail starts spinning and the next thing they know, the leaves are getting blown into a pile. Tom’s laughter is so loud (as was my son’s) that Miss Amersham comes to the window to see what is going on. That’s when she sees the impossible! A flying dog!
After Tom finishes up the leaves, he goes back to collect his five pence. That’s when Miss Amersham invites him in. Over tea and fig rolls, Miss Amersham and Tom talk about how Max can fly, but then more importantly, Miss Amersham gives him solid advice and inspiration on how he can confront and end the bullies’ reign of terror.
It’s satisfying, hilarious, and wonderfully fitting to see how Tom is able to get the bullies to stop tormenting him. My eldest son was jumping up and down laughing with excitement. He thought that it was so much fun and so funny that he clapped and cheered.
We’re also impressed with how good-natured the solution is as well – it could have been vengeful – but it was truly pure fun. Tom is able to “confront” the bullies while still being a good person and not stooping down to their level.
The ending is so sweet and happy. It makes you feel utterly content. When I closed the book my eldest said, “Now that was a good story!”
My youngest one will happily sit through the entire book. Which is wholly a testament to the power of this book rather than my two-year-old son’s attention span. It’s a relatively long story compared to the picture books we typically read, but he hung on to every word and laughed a ton.
The illustrations are charming, sophisticated, quirky, and completely perfect for setting the tone and really bringing the story to life. There are just enough illustrations so that your imagination can seamlessly and vividly knit the story together and make for a immersive experience.
We love Max and hope you get to read and laugh along with this endearing, delightful, and witty book!
The Max series makes me so grateful I started blogging because I never would have known about this book otherwise and these are some of our favorite books. Nothing has ever made my eldest son laugh this hard, and see him laugh like this and how excited he gets means the world to me.
Recommended Ages 3 to 10+. Words In The Works LLC. October 2016. 50 pages. ISBN: 978-0997228427 Fiction.
Where to Get it:
Author and Illustrator Websites:
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”