Rusch, Elizabeth. 2014. Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel. Illustrated by Mike Lawrence.
Max lives in the aptly-named suburban town of Marsh Creek. In addition to the marsh on the outskirts of town, mud is everywhere in town as well, making it almost impossible for the child of neat-freak parents to stay clean! Max becomes suspicious of his parents'secretive habits, frequent trips to the marsh, and fanatical obsession with his cleanliness. When he accidentally discovers that mud gives him superpowers, he and his friend Patrick become determined to figure out exactly what is going on in Marsh Creek.
This is an easy-to-read graphic, sci-fi novel that should be popular with younger kids and reluctant readers. The panels are easy to follow, with simple, but expressive drawings in muted browns and grays that reflect the book's muddy locale. Hopefully, future installments will add some dimension to the Max's female friend. Not willing to completely divest herself of her nonfiction roots, Rusch adds some real science about mud and its denizens in the back matter.
I predict that more than one member of my book club will want to take this one home. I'll have to place some holds on library copies.
A Teacher's Guide to Muddy Max is available here.
Elizabeth Rusch is also a talented author of nonfiction. Last year I reviewed her book, Volcano Rising.