Monday, June 04, 2007

When Max Became a Mom by Tracey Kuffner

I'm not usually a big fan of self-published books given they often need a good editor, but I quite enjoyed When Max Became a Mom by Tracey Kuffner. Kuffner is both the author and illustrator but her illustration style is totally unique; they are created with felt.

Tracey started out as a felt artist who raises sheep, dyes the wool and creates beautiful clothing. She is full of stories though, and so far two have spilled out. This one is her first, and like many good story tellers, she's dug into her own experiences to create this one. Felt is about layering raw wool in different directions, and this story mimics that process. Max lives on a sheep farm and when he discovers that one of the twin lambs isn't thriving he decides take matters into his own hands. Max has a hard road ahead of him though since bottle-fed lambs have to be fed often and at inconvenient times. Max sticks with it though and the payoff comes in an unexpected form when Max's lamb becomes a mom herself. Friendship and responsibility lay at the heart of this lovely story, but Kuffner is wise enough not to hit her readers over the head with it. It's a gentle story, and having recently met Max (and his little sister Isabelle) I could see why exactly where the story's sensibility came from. Kuffner clearly gets that story is about character. You'll enjoy meeting Max, if it's between the pages of a book.

Kuffner's whimsical illustrations ,while limited in scope, are as charming as this tale is well told. You can check out both of Kuffner's books at Woolmine Publishing


Michelle said...

what age do you think the target audience is for this book? I am thinking grades 1 or 2 so about 6 or 6 years old?? would you agree? I am doing a children's literature class and have chosen this as one of my books and am just looking for another opinion.

readingkidsbooks said...

That's about right Michelle, but it depends on what you want to do with it. Even picture books can be read on various levels. For example, using it as a jumping off point for an art project makes this story appropriate for a much older audience. If you have kids come up with a childhood story, and then have them illustrate it,this could easily be used with an upper elementary class. Good luck with your class. Sheryl