#261 – The Adventures of Max #1: Little Dude by Michelle Hennessy

little dude.

The Adventures of Max, Book 1: Little Dude

by Michelle Hennessy

illustrations by Luke Harland

3 Stars



From Press Release:  Max always dreamed of surfing.  Every day he’d go down to the beach and watch all of the other surfers riding the waves and having tons of fun.  The sun was going down and Max realised (sic) that he had floated so far out to sea he would never make it back before it was dark.  Max started to cry, he was very scared being out there all alone.  Max could hear strange noises out there in the ocean and wished so very hard for his mummy.  Then all of a sudden Max heard splashes around his board, and he wondered what it was (sic)

What’s going to happen to me?

Then Max heard a strange little voice.

“Hey,” the voice said, “how did you get out here?”

First Sentence: Max always dreamed of surfing.

watching dreaming

Max, a young boy, age not specified, watched the surfers each day at the beach.  When his mother gives him a surfboard, Max excitedly took it and ran into the ocean.  After trying to stand up and falling, Max decided to watch the other surfers from his surfboard in the ocean.  Max floated and watched.  When it became time to paddle in, Max realized he had floated out so far that he could never make it back to shore before it got dark.  Max began to cry, wishing his mother would rescue him.  He was scared to be in the ocean when it was getting so dark, but did not start paddling back to shore.  Max heard noises and thought it was a shark, which only increased his fear.  Then, he heard a voice.

 Hey,” the voice said, “how did you get out here?”

The voice was that of a dolphin.  This considerably lowered Max’s fears.  The dolphin asked Max to be his friend and Max agreed.  Max gave him the moniker “Little Dude.”  Little Dude pulled Max back to shore, where his parents and little sister were waiting.

There is a bit more to the story, but as written, it does not make sense.  It is easy to figure out, but the reader should be able to understand the writing, not need to figure out what the author meant to say.  Here is the problem, written verbatim, including punctuation.

 Little Dude jumped and splashed for joy, he was so happy to finally have a friend to talk to, a real boy and said don’t you wish on a star and be a dolphin like me and then we can be best of friends forever?”

The dolphin had been a little boy floating for days in the sea after a boating accident.  He was scared, hungry, and thirsty.  At the sight of a falling star, he wished to become a dolphin if he were to stay in the sea. The sentence (above), says Little Dude does not want Max to do the same, but for the story to flow to the end, Little Dude should be asking Max to do what he did.  Readers are smart.  They’ll noticed this indiscretion.

spread 1

There is no excuse for sloppy writing.  There are problems with punctuation, dialogue, and grammar.  There are frequently no quotation marks around dialogue and commas are missing in many places, as are a few periods.  Other than the often-missing quotation marks, most of the dialogue is poorly structured.  In at least one sentence beside a missing comma and not capitalizing the first word of dialogue, both Max and Little Dude speak.

 “Well no, I don’t” said the dolphin and Max replied, “then I will call you Little Dude.”

A new speaker requires a new paragraph.  Dialogue structuring is very bad.  Where was the editor?  Max’s age is not given.  In children’s books, the age often matters and needs stated soon into the story.  Why does mom hand Max a new surfboard without any advice or instruction?  Readers have no idea whether or not Max knows how to surf, surfed before, or taken lessons.  That is a lot of “don’t know.”

The illustrations are fantastic!  The characters are cute and the environment is bright and looks fantastic.  The parents have four fingers, but Max and his sister have three fingers.  A bit odd. Otherwise  the illustrations are fantastic. The iPad version was the best.  It had better saturation and more definition than other formats.  This may simply be due to the retina display.  The other versions—computer and Kindle Fire—were good.

Speaking of the iPad, Little Dude is available in a Kindle version (.mobi), an epub format, and in paperback.  The text was difficult to read on the Kindle Fire, even with the size set at “ultra large.” The same was true when reading on the computer.  Overall, the iPad was the easiest to read and showed off the illustrations at their finest.  The paperback version  was not available.

on backs near end

I did like Little Dude’s story.  Dolphins are the best.  I liked Max having both an outward problem and an inward conflict to deal with.  That is wonderful story telling.  The author understands story structure.  She knows how to raise the stakes.  Little Dude’s only problem is not being ready for publication.  Authors need to be able to tell a good story.  Little Dude is a good story.  Authors need to be good writers, paying attention to every part of the story and then getting a good editor.  Little Dude needs edited, or re-edited, and then rewritten.  If done correctly, this story will be wonderful.

Having said all this, I think boys and girls will like Ms. Hennessy’s debut children’s bookThe word count makes The Adventures of Max, Book 1: Little Dude a good book for grades 2 to 4.


The Adventures of Max, Book 1: Little Dude

by Michelle Hennessy    .   website
illustrations by Luke Harland    . website   loop  vimeo
Michelle Hennessy, publisher
Released on December 2, 2012
ISBN:  978-0-9873549-2-1    .     TRAILER
32 pages (35 paperback)
Grades: Pre-K


Copyright © 2012 by Michelle Hennessey, used with permission.
Text: copyright © 2012 by Michelle Hennessey
Illustrations: copyright © 2012 by Luke Harland

Available in paperback and digital for most eReaders.



16 thoughts on “#261 – The Adventures of Max #1: Little Dude by Michelle Hennessy

  1. I’m not a critic, just an every day reader and found this “Little Dude” a great read to my little Nephews and Nieces. They were totally entertained and wouldn’t let me put it down. Isn’t that what book reading is fundamentally about, absorption, interest, and entertainment? Well done Michelle.


  2. I have the book and I think it’s a wonderful story. Yes it is a little scary, but so was the start of Finding Nemo when Marlins wife and kids got eaten by a Baracuda!
    There are a few things that need fixing yes, but as you say it is the Authors first book in a series.

    This is both the Authors and Illustrators first book and although there will always be good and bad reviews for every Author, I would still recommend Little Dude to any young reader.

    As for your comment on the “falling Star” I suggest you read that page again. Little Dude asks Max “Why don’t you wish upon a start and be a Dolphin like me”.

    Constructive Critisism is a must for any new Author. Thank you for your honesty.


    • Hi Cloe, it is nice to see you here. I like that you are trying to defend your friend’s book. I really do. I am not into reviewing to knock someone around. I simple evaluate a book.

      I agree with what you are saying except for one thing. I copied verbatim what was written in the book I was given. And it did not say “Why don’t you wish upon a start and be a Dolphin like me.” It said “. . . and said don’t you wish on a star and be a dolphin like me and then we can be best of friends forever?” The complete text for the page is above, in the review.

      Also, I appreciate that this is the author’s first book, which is why I mentioned it. BUT, it matters not whether it is your first book or your fifty-first book, punctuation, grammar, and general mistakes like the above should NEVER happen. This is why a writer has an editor edit the book and then re-writes the book,with the process repeated until the book is as perfect as possible.

      Self-publish is no excuse. There is no excuse.

      Again, I sincerely appreciate you defending your friend’s work. Writers need people like you on their side. I do not make any remark to hurt or attack. I hope the author will take my comments and use them to improve her writing and her books. I hope you can see this. I hate writing this kind of review, but it was necessary and I tried to carefully choose my words so as not to attack the author. I believe your friend has talent. Thank you for sharing your views.


    • KidLitReviews, I have the paperback, the Verbatim piece you have above is not correct there are words missing from it. After boy and said it reads “why don’t you wish on a star etc….. Also on the previous page, “Well no I don’t” said the dolphin and Max replied (on a new line) “then I will call you Little Dude”
      This book does need re-editing for sure. All in all though a fun story.


  3. I like that you are honest Ms. Morris! It is also great that you are very fair in your reviews and tell what is also good about the books you review. I agree with you that the illustrations are great! 🙂


  4. This book could definitely use some editing and re-writing in places to make the story clearer. I did wonder why Max’s mom
    wasn’t more in the picture in regards to his safety. Editing and re-writing are both hard work, but ultimately, the story becomes
    so much better. I hope the author carries through with your advice. This could be a great story.


    • Well, hello sicky. Are you feeling a little bit better? I hope you are. It’s hard work and, I think, can be scary work, after spending a long time writing, it can be difficult to let someone change things. It’s a part of writing we all must go through. You’re right, this could be a great story.

      Thank you for climbing out of your sick-bed to read the review. If I’d known you were lazying-about at home, I would have asked you to edit the review so I could go to bed. Nothing gets past the edit stage. Take care of yourself. Get your hubby to wait on all your desires. 😀


  5. Well, when I saw the book was about surfing, I got a little excited. Our Princesses are surfer wannabees and I like to look for surfing stories for them. But I thought it was weird that Max’s mom would just give him a board and let him go out all by himself! And to go out far enough to not be able to get back! That’s just too scary crazy for a little kid book. I appreciate your review!


    • I agree. I read a news article, after the review was completed, on the author’s website. In it she tells reporters that Max is seven-years-old and has newly moved into (I forget the name of the coastal town). That information needed to be in the book.

      The author is new. This is her first book and I really believe she can write. She needs to learn the fundamentals and, most importantly, to hire an editor and do rewrites.

      One friend of mine recently finished the editing process that took nearly a year to complete. Story structure was the largest amount of time, and there were punctuation that needed shored up. This author is an award-winning author!

      I just hope she redoes the book, before embarking on the second, else mistakes will be repeated.. Little Dude can be a winner. She can be a winning author.

      Thank you for commenting. I greatly appreciate your thoughts. 🙂


  6. This story sounded familiar for some reason, but I’m sure I’ve never read it. I may be thinking about Pig Kahuna, which I loved. I don’t know if I will ever like a surfing book as much as that one. I totally get what you’re saying about grammar rules. It’s a deal breaker, while also being the easiest thing to fix.


    • “Easiest” is what makes this review heart-breaking to me. You and my other loyal readers know I do not like writing these reviews. But, it would be odd if I just wrote “wonderful book” and slapped a 5 stars rating on a poorly written book. In good conscience, I cannot do that. How does doing that kind of “reviewing” help the author? This young woman has potential to write really good children’s lit. Education needs to come first.

      Thank you for commenting. It is a brave thing to do. No one likes being “the bad guy.” 😀


Comments are closed.