Max Booth Future Sleuth: Selfie Search, Cameron Macintosh (author), Dave Atze (illus.), Big Sky Publishing, 2017

Synopsis: Max Booth Future Sleuth is back with more sci-fi adventure and another mystery to solve! Max has been handed an ancient mobile phone. It’s from the year 2017, which makes it more than 400 years old! What’s more, it’s full of photos – all of the same person. Max and his robo-dog sidekick Oscar learn that the photos hold a secret that could lead them to fame and fortune. But the secret gets out, and Max and Oscar face the fight of their lives to keep their discovery safe from some very greedy hands …

Selfie Search is the second book in the Max Booth Future Sleuth series released by Big Sky Publishing, but works well as a standalone story if the reader hasn’t checked out the first book, Tape Escape, already. This chapter book is perfect for early and reluctant readers who need plenty of action and an exciting premise to get into a story. While it’s suitable for boys and girls, the main character is male and I think the series is going to have particular appeal for boys who have been struggling to find books at this level that piques their interest.

Set in the future (2424 to be precise), the book introduces readers to sci-fi in a light way and is perfectly suited for both those interested in future-driven, tech stories and those who have never come across it before. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen many chapter books set in the future, and as such I think this series offers something fresh and fun.

In addition, since the story actually deals not just with a world and culture set hundreds of years from now, but also with historical discovery and what can be learnt from looking back at our past, it presents an interesting mix of both the old and new. I’m sure teachers, librarians and parents will enjoy the fact that this series can prompt discussions about what life might be like in the future, as well as examining how things were in the past.

Besides the interesting world-building, there is plenty of humour and action throughout the novel to keep readers engaged and giggling, plus a resident “baddie” who Max and his robo-pal have to thwart and evade. The book also deals with themes of family, friendship, resourcefulness, resilience, perseverance, and doing the right thing.

Selfie Search also features regular black and while illustrations drawn by Dave Atze. These pictures have a comic-book kind of style, and add great additional humour to the story. They also break up the text nicely for early readers who are getting used to a higher word count, and complement the story and its themes really well.

Max Booth Future Sleuth is recommended for children aged around 7 years and up.

Please note: a complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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