Book Review: Made by Maxine

Book Review: Made by Maxine


Made by Maxine

37 pages

Written by Ruth Spiro

Illustrated by Holly Hatam

Published by Dial Books

Publication date: 9th October 2018

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

Summary (from Goodreads):

Meet Maxine, an inspiring young maker who knows that with enough effort and imagination (and mistakes), it’s possible to invent anything.

Maxine loves making new things from old things. She loves tinkering until she has solved a problem. She also loves her pet goldfish, Milton. So when it’s time for her school’s pet parade, she’s determined to create something that will allow Milton to march with the other animals. Finally, after trying, trying, and trying again, she discovers just the right combination of recycled odds and ends to create a fun, functional–and absolutely fabulous–solution to her predicament.


Meet Maxine. She likes making new things… from old things.

She de-constructs and re-constructs.

Unscrews and re-glues.

Maxine makes everything better (mostly)

First impressions: I was initially drawn to this by the colourful palette of the front cover, then by the synopsis. I wanted to find out more about Maxine and I love books with positive representations of creativity, innovation and resilience when things go wrong!


This story follows Maxine as she uses her creative skills to design the most fantastic fish tank for her best friend, the goldfish Milton. All is well until her teacher says that they will be having a pet parade in school…but Milton’s tank is far too heavy to move. And his water splashes everywhere when Maxine carries him in the bowl. Will Milton just have to stay at home?

I loved how much character Milton has – especially for a goldfish! Also, Maxine is so loyal to him despite the difficulties involved which is a lovely message for children reading.

This book also showed the creative process and how we are limited only by our imagination. However, it also touched on the fact that things don’t always immediately go to plan and that successes is often preceded by a lot of failures. This is such a valuable lesson and not always an easy one to learn, particularly when children are struggling to make a design or dream a reality and having problems.

This is  great picture book to share with any primary-aged child and is sure to park lots of discussion about tanks for Milton, pet parades and strange inventions!



“If I can dream it, I can make it!” Maxine said.

What I liked: The cute illustration style, the positive messages about friendship, creativity and perseverance. I liked how so much personalty was displayed through Milton’s movements. I also liked how Maxine’s mum is in the background, watching and supporting, but never swooping in with a magic fix.

Even better if: I would love to see more of Maxine’s inventions!

How you could use it in your classroom: This would be a great read-aloud at the beginning of a design and technology project to spark discussion about the variety of ways in which you can innovate, as well as thinking about how to handle it when things don’t exactly go to plan! I would love to use this to prompt the design of other tanks for Milton and to design ways that other pets could participate in the parade.

About the illustrator:


Holly Hatam’s a girl that sometimes wears something pink and sparkly and sometimes dons capes and fights dragons. Some days she’s moody, but other days she shakes her booty. Some days her heart may seek wild adventures, but other days she just wants to be a couch potato.

She is a picture book maker, greeting card designer, and a textile engineer. She is also the #1 New York Times Bestselling illustrator of Dear Girl. Her other books include, What Matters, Tree Song, Maxine the Maker, Jack (Not Jackie) and The Acadia Files.

Holly lives in Whitby, Ontario with her weird husband and even weirder son. But that’s ok, because weird is a side effect of awesome.

Client List

Harper Collins, Orca Publishers, Dial Books for Young Readers, Annick Press, Tilbury House, Lady Bird, Usborne Books, Hallmark, American Greetings, Mudpuppy, Baby Bug, Highlights, Chickadee, Little Bee Books, MacGraw Hill, Learning A-Z

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

Don’t miss the other stops on this blog tour:


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

11/19/2018- Lifestyle of Me– Review

11/20/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

11/21/2018- Beagles & Books– Review

11/22/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review

11/23/2018- Chrikaru Reads– Review


Week Two:

11/26/2018- BookHounds YA– Review

11/27/2018- YA Books Central– Review

11/28/2018- Twirling Book Princess– Excerpt

11/29/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Interview

11/30/2018- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt


Click here to enter a draw to win a copy of the book (USA only, sorry!)

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of Argyle Fox, Home Sweet Home, Violet, A Different Pond or The Day War Came?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!


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