Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek review
Writer: Elizabeth Rusch
Art: Mike Lawrence
Review by Melissa Megan
Max lives in Marsh Creek, the muddiest town in the country. The mud seeps and crawls all over the town, covers the sidewalks and leaks on to cars, mucks up yards and playgrounds, even buildings in Marsh Creek are globbed with mud. The kids in town seem to enjoy it, they play and romp in it and get used to the constant state of gross they are in. Max, on the other hand, isn’t allowed to enjoy it because his parents have an irrational fear of him getting dirty. They send him out each day layered in boots, hats, jackets, anything to keep the mud off of him. He’s become a joke at school, along with his best friend Patrick, who is forced to eat in a separate room each day due to his nut allergy.
Like lots of kids, Max and Patrick spend their days trying to avoid bullies and working out how to have fun despite Max’s overbearing parents. One day, Max discovers a photo hidden away of a baby that looks a little like him, but isn’t. His parents are with this mystery baby. When Max’s inquiry to his parents is shut down, it only piques his curiosity and Max decides that he absolutely must figure out who the baby is and why his parents are so terrified of him getting muddy. Thus begins a great adventure packed with mystery, physical and emotional challenges, invention and imagination.
Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek is a smart, fun detective story for kids (and adults) that presents many questions about the parent/child relationship. How far will a parent go to protect their child from a perceived threat and at what point is the protection too much? How much fibbing is acceptable between parents and kids, when it means keeping the kids safe? How much protection will a spunky little boy accept before he simply must break free and see what happens?
I’ve been following the production of this book online, through the social media posts of Mike Lawrence, for a good year now. When I picked it up, I expected a cute kids’ story about muddy boots and good times. This book is far more than that. My son is a bit too young to understand this story just yet, but I will most definitely be keeping it on my shelf to read with him when he is.
Verdict: Muddy Max is an emotional, daring, creepy tale that absolutely must be read by parents and kids everywhere. It’s charming, creepy and sad. It’s a story of friendship and loyalty. A story of parental love and loss. A story of the science of mud and the mystery of Marsh Creek. Buy this book, now. Most definitely if you have a young one at home to share it with , but even if you don’t, you won’t be able to read this without feeling the feels.
Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek can be pre-ordered on Amazon now.