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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Made by Maxine is a children’s picture book written by Ruth Spiro and illustrated by Holly Hatam. Maxine loved to tinker. She saw ways to make the coolest new creations out of old, everyday items. Sometimes they didn’t work very well, but that never stopped Maxine from trying a different technique or maybe readjusting things a bit. When she and her mom walked past the pet shop one day, Maxine saw something else that riveted her attention -- a goldfish, a very special goldfish named Milton. She was sure that he was waving to her from the other side of the store’s front window. Milton left the pet store that day, still inhabiting his humble fish bowl, but Maxine was determined to make his home as special as he was. And knowing Maxine, she would spare no effort to do so.
Ruth Spiro’s inspiring and entertaining picture book, Made by Maxine, had me smiling from ear to ear as I watched the young inventor/engineer do what came naturally to her. What a marvelous message for young girls! Maxine doesn’t ask for help from a father or a big brother, and she’s not afraid of getting into the technological aspects of things. Spiro’s story teaches girls that it’s cool to think, and that getting things wrong the first time just means you go back and try another solution. Holly Hatam’s illustrations brilliantly portray the young scientist/inventor, and each panel is a joy to closely examine and spend some time with. I’d love to see more books featuring Maxine and Milton, and I bet there are quite a few young girls and parents out there who will feel the same way after reading this awesome book. Made by Maxine is most highly recommended.