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Thursday, January 28, 2016

All Downhill From Here: Max and Marla by Alexandra Boiger

MAX AND MARLA ARE OLYMPIANS--REAL-LIFE, HONEST-TO-GOODNESS OLYMPIANS.

Never mind that Max is a very small boy, and Marla is an owl. (Well, she IS a snowy owl.) The two friends are determined to medal in the upcoming winter games.

They board their bobsled at the top of the hill and hunker down bravely to take the speedy curves. But the sled won't slide.

TRUE OLYMPIANS NEVER GIVE UP.

It seems the runners need a bit of soaping. Max applies the wax the next morning, and donning their helmets, the would-be winners approach the bobsled run again. The wax works.

They slip down the slope way too fast. CRASH!

"MARLA, WE NEED TO TAKE A SICK DAY."

Olympians may never give up, but sometimes they have to adjust their training program. Max and Marla are not just lying around lazily on the snow. Making snow angels is now part of their training, along with rolling downhill as giant snowballs without a sled, in Alexandra Boiger's newest, Max and Marla (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2015). And who needs Olympic medals when you have doughnuts to hang around your neck and nibble as needed?

Boiger's now familiar illustrations (cf. her artwork in Marilyn Singer's hit series begun with Tallulah's Tutu) create a blue and lavender winter wonderland in which her little athletes sweetly play at fame. "Boiger excels at closely observed, affectionate details, like Max carrying a snoozing Marla to bed, or the friends stringing donuts on ribbons to serve as Olympic medals," adds Publishers Weekly.

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