Author Cynthia Voight’s Dicey’s Song, and the Mister Max trilogy
Cynthia Voight won the 1983 Newbery Medal for Dicey’s Song. I read the whole book and, quite honestly, I can barely remember it. I do recall that Dicey brought her siblings safely to live with their grandmother. Each sibling has issues settling into his or her new life at home and in school. Their mother lies catatonic in a mental institution in Boston. Perhaps Voight’s depiction of Dicey’s struggles is what gained her the medal. Could it be that thirty-five years ago, learning disabilities and death were considered innovative topics in children’s literature?
I was much more intrigued by the Mister Max books: The Book of Lost Things, The Book of Secrets, and The Book of Kings. Here, the author cleverly leaves the big question– can Max locate and rescue his parents?—to be resolved only in the last book. So of course I had to read them all. The twists in the plot, and Max’s job as Solutioneer were entertaining. I was especially impressed by the quality illustrations from the hand of Iacopo Bruno. His use of perspective was amazing! I studied the pictures, wondering, “How does he do that?” I even googled Bruno, who lives in Milan, Italy. Check out his work at: