Funny Kid Snowballs
ABC Books, 2023
288pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99
Now that his mum’s campaign for mayor has been unsuccessful , Max and his parents, and his friend Hugh have been invited by the well-known (and extremely rich) actor George Khan to have a break in his chalet at the Beauty Peaks Ski Resort (Winter Holiday Destination of the Rich and Famous). Snow and skiing and all that they entail is a new phenomenon for Max, and he is convinced that all you need for happiness is money. The more money you have, the more happiness you can buy, however fleeting it might be because there is always the means to buy more. His parents try to persuade him that happiness comes from somewhere deeper, but this is going to be a hard lesson for Max to learn when he and his friends are surrounded by such opulence and indulgence.
Despite the crazy situations that Max finds himself in, including trying to impress his first love, frozen pyjamas, fast cars, falling gracefully off cliffs, a wild mountain man, impossible chairlifts and a high-end fashion parade from Lost Property, Stanton always weaves a food-for-thought message amongst the hilarity, and this is no exception. At a time when largesse is at its most prominent, and many parents going without essentials so their kids can “have a good Christmas” this is a particularly topical theme as gifts are opened and often discarded and forgotten as soon as their batteries run out and their appeal wains. Is biggest and brightest always the best? If not, what is?
This is the 12th in this series whose popularity continues to grow because Stanton knows just what boys of a certain age want to read and see themselves in, and whether this is the first introduction or the 12th that is read, it is a series that has a deserved place in any collection, home or school. Because of that serious thread weaving its way through the humour, it can be a conversation starter especially if adult and child are reading it together or even just the opportunity for some reflection and affirmation that who we are as we are is enough.