Meet Max the Brave: the kitten on a mission to be read by over 600,000 children this year

Published on: 10 January 2018 Author: Emily Drabble

Do you have a child in England aged 3-4? If you do, look out for the brilliant free book they'll be bringing home this year - Max the Brave. We've got an exclusive video reading by author Ed Vere, who tells us why young children can relate to his feisty little hero.

Ed Vere and Max the Brave

Ed Vere’s Max the Brave is our Bookstart Treasure book for 2018. Every child in England receives a Bookstart Treasure book when they are aged three or four, meaning over 600,000 children will read Max the Brave over the next 12 months, funded by Arts Council England.

Publishers in the UK submit books to be considered for the Bookstart Treasure pack, and the final book is selected by a panel of experts including booksellers, librarians, health and early years professionals.

Read our news story announcing this year's Bookstart Baby and Treasure books

Enjoy Ed Vere's fantastic reading of Max the Brave

Ed Vere tells us more about Max, and why it's so important for adults to love picture books

How do you feel about Max the Brave being chosen for Bookstart Treasure?

It’s an incredible honour for 'Max' to be chosen from so many amazing books. I can’t tell you how delighted I am that so many children are going to get the opportunity to read Max - and that it's a present from BookTrust to them! It's such a wonderful initiative - I’m honoured to be working with BookTrust and so proud to be involved, alongside Max, with Bookstart Treasure.

Why do you think it’s important for young children to get access to brilliant books?

It’s important because we want children to love reading - and to continue reading as they grow. We need to put high-quality, entertaining and fun books in front of not only children but adults, too.

I always write for children and the grown-ups who'll be reading to them, because if a grown-up is bored reading to a child, that transmits to the child. If parents enjoy reading great, entertaining books then that increases the chances that children will grow up loving reading. Reading because it’s fun and because children love the world that books can take them into.

If we’re going to encourage children to read from an early age, then we have to do it with good books and I’m thrilled that Max is considered a good book.

Where did the idea for Max the Brave come from?

My ideas always come from drawing. I’d been drawing this small kitten for a while. He seemed feisty from the start but also young and naive. So he doesn’t yet know what a mouse looks like but he's eager to chase one; he'll learn, but it means that he can be tripped up throughout the book.

I think that’s fun for children to see when they’re at a similar learning stage. They’re eager to know everything about the world but there are all sorts of obvious things they don't yet know.

Max is just beyond the toddling years himself, but he’s wide-eyed, he’s curious, and he’s absolutely eager to know everything. And he knows no fear. So when he meets a monster (that he thinks is a mouse) he’s happy to try and tackle it. I often hear parents say Max is just like their son or daughter!

Who is your inspiration?

There are many but I’ve been very inspired by Jan Pienkowski, who illustrated the Meg and Mog books, and many more. He is actually the partner of my godfather. I remember visiting them and Jan had this wonderful studio packed full of lovely drawing and painting things - total heaven to a small child.

I loved drawing and knew I was going to be a painter from the age of five, but I never imagined I’d make children’s books. To have the example of Jan in front of you is pretty inspirational. He’s 82 now and very much still drawing and creating.

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