Road Trip with Max and his Mom and Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life and are both written with young readers in mind and both are about children whose parents are separated.

Road Trip with Max and his Mom

I thought Road Trip with Max and his Mom by Linda Urban ($23.99, Raincoast Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was a sweet book. I didn’t read the first one (Weekends with Max and his Dad) and it wasn’t necessary to understand Book 2.

In this one, rather than spending the weekend with his dad, eating pizza and walking the neighbour’s dogs, he and his mom are going on a road trip for a family reunion. His mom is excited, but Max is worried as he always spends the weekends with his dad and wonders if his dad will be sad without him.

I imagine this captures the feelings of children of separated parents quite well – wanting to be happy, but always worried about how the other parent is doing. Other issues come up during the course of the weekend road trip, but all are solved with communication and love – just like in the real world.

Illustration of a girl with pigtails with a hamster on her head holding up the title.
There is a whole lot going on in this book.

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life

For such a small book, there is whole lot going on in Beverley Brenna‘s Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life ($19.95, Pajama Press).

The book is told between two perspectives – nine-year-old Jeannie who REALLY wants a hamster so perhaps her dad, who no longer lives at their family home, will visit more often – and Sapphire, the chosen hamster who is searching for the meaning a life – and freedom. Throughout the course of the story we meet Anna Conda, (anaconda, like the snake. “I paid for the name change,” said Anna. “My parents called me something else, but it didn’t work out for me.”) who becomes friends with Jeannie and her family, helping them in their new world.

There is a lot of things I liked about the book, including Sapphire, who learns about what is important in life and shares that knowledge with the reader. I like Anna and how she teaches the children about kindness and friendship and I like that Jeannie is not caught up in what should be or shouldn’t be, but rather she accepts people who they are.

What I didn’t like is how much Jeannie shouted and that she got away with talking and acting that way. If there is a Book 2, I hope Jeannie grows out of that particularly annoying trait as it did take away from the book.

A copy of these books were provided by Pajama Press and Raincoast books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

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