Max Counts To A Million – Jeremy Williams

Initially doing it to get back at his mum, Max decides to count to a million during lockdown. With the support of his family and friends (and his favourite TV reporter), Max sets out to achieve his dream…

When I first read the blurb of this book, I wondered if a Covid-19 book was perhaps too soon. Having read Max Counts To A Million, I can see how wrong I was: it is a laugh-out-loud, heartwarming and poignant account of a child’s life during lockdown. Publishing almost 2 years since that first lockdown was announced, Jeremy sensitively tracks actual events with fictional Max’s life. I found it interesting reflecting on those earlier months of Covid – the news headlines, families taking their children out of school and the panic buying at the supermarkets – when at the time, I was busy helping to appoint a new headteacher and support families so didn’t really reflect on the enormity of what was going on. Jeremy does a great job explaining key words at a child’s level e.g. pandemic and lockdown (or should it be lock-in?).

As I mentioned above, despite the subject content, Max Counts To A Million is extremely funny and heartwarming. Similar in tone to Jenny Pearson or Helen Rutter, it provides a comfortable way of remembering this pandemic and celebrating how everyone got through it. Not only that but it’s a terrific celebration of all the NHS staff who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and the sacrifices they made in order to protect their families (as Max’s dad is sadly forced to do).

With an honest protagonist who talks constantly to the reader so you feel more invested, Max Counts To A Million is an excellent, uplifting read. A person as inspirational as Captain Tom Moore, Max is going to be one of my favourite MG leads of 2022 (he will make you chuckle, especially when he spends the majority of one chapter talking about smarties).

Suggested reading age: 8+

Max Counts To A Million is written by Jeremy Williams. It’s published by Nosy Crow and is available now from all good bookshops.

Published by Tom G

Avid reader. Dad of 2. Husband. Assistant Headteacher.

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