Showing posts with label Cameron Macintosh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cameron Macintosh. Show all posts

Monday, 22 October 2018

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Stamp Safari


Max Booth Future Sleuth: Stamp Safari by Cameron Macintosh, illustrated by Dave Atze (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $12.99 ISBN 9781925675368

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Max Booth and his trusty robo-dog Oscar are back for another sleuthing adventure. Stamp Safari is the third book in this futuristic series for young readers.

The year is 2424 and the world is a very different place. There are floating skyburbs as well as the usual ground level suburbs and zoom tubes with aircells that transport people back and forth. Zip coasters move people around the city by looping over buildings and underneath bridges. Max Booth lives on Skyburb 6. Since his escape from the Home for Unclaimed Urchins, he secretly lives in the storeroom of the Bluggsville Museum. Max helps his friend Jessie to identify ancient objects for display in the museum, to earn a little cash.

Max and Jessie become intrigued by a tiny rectangular piece of paper that has a pattern cut into its edges. It has a picture on one side and is sticky on the other.   Unfortunately, the Great Solar Flare of 2037 destroyed the old Internet and its contents, and this patch of paper is too old to easily identify. So, Max sets off with his resourceful beagle-bot Oscar in search of clues to find the origin of this rare and fragile piece of paper.

It isn’t long before Max and Oscar get themselves into trouble and hopes fade for identifying the piece of paper. Max gets captured by Captain Selby (the leader of the Unclaimed Urchins Recapture Squad) and is separated from his beloved Oscar. Max needs to try every trick in the book if he is to safely return to the museum with his dog and the patch of paper.

This humorous book would appeal to children 7+ years old who are beginning their chapter book journey. Atze’s monochrome cartoon vignettes are scattered throughout the book to help young minds visualise the futuristic world that Macintosh has created. If you’re keen for more sleuthing fun after you’ve read this book, make sure you check out the other two books in this series: Tape Escape and Selfie Search.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Max Booth Future Sleuth Stamp Safari


Max Booth Future Sleuth Stamp Safari by Cameron Macintosh, illustrated by Dave Atze (Big Sky Publishing) RRP $12.99
ISBN 9781925675368

Reviewed by Wendy Haynes

Cameron Macintosh brings the third instalment of Max Booth Future Sleuth to his readership of 8 to 10-year olds. Max and his trusty companion Oscar a Beagle bot head off in search for some answers to a sticky object Oscar found. What is it?

Set in the future, 2424, Max lives in Skyburb 6, in fact he lives in the Bluggsville Museum thanks to his friend Jessie. Max helps Jessie identify object from the past.

This chapter book takes the reader on a fun journey back to when tennis was a popular sport, and stamps were used to send parcels and letters. It is a great way to reengage a child’s imagination and in turn building on how life is full of possibilities. Well placed illustration by Dave Atze, help form the story and give the reader a glimpse of what Cameron imagines into a well told story.

The author reminds us of the value of money, the possible changes in transport to come, electricity all underground and junk yards full of vehicles.

On his journey to discover what the sticky object (the stamp) is used for, Max escapes the clutches of Squad Captain Selby but with the help from Jessie and an old friend Brandon, Max saves Oscar and finds out the mystery of the sticky object.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Buzz Words Achievers


Cameron Macintosh has had the third book in his children's sci-fi series, Max Booth Future Sleuth, published by Big Sky Publishing. It's called Stamp Safari and is illustrated by Dave Atze. More info at http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/books/max-booth-future-sleuth-book-3/

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Selfie Search

Max Booth Future Sleuth: Selfie Search by Cameron Macintosh, illustrated by Dave Atze (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 9781925520880

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Max Booth escaped from a ‘Home for Unclaimed Urchins’ a couple of years ago and now lives/hides with his trusty robo-dog Oscar in the storeroom at the Bluggsville City Museum, where his best friend Jessie works.

The year is 2424 and Max assists Jessie by identifying old objects that come to the Museum, and earns himself a little bit of cash in the process. With the help of his beagle-bot Oscar, Max is able to problem solve like a professional. While Oscar’s favourite thing to do is to chase robo-rats he is truly Max’s ‘robotic super assistant’. Who wouldn’t appreciate an assistant who can project images into the air, make good use of their 3D printer, and activate their in-built metal detector whenever the situation calls for it?

Jessie comes across an old object she needs help with and Max’s initial disinterest turns to excitement when he discovers there’s more than meets the eye. They search through the ‘old’ 2017 phone’s photographs to find an abundance of pictures of a man who ‘definitely liked looking at himself’. The photos include one of the man holding a skateboard ‘an ancient one, with actual wheels on the bottom.’  Max and Jessie soon discover this photograph holds the key to a missing piece of Bluggsville’s past and a potential fortune…. and so, their ‘Selfie Search’ adventure begins.

Selfie Search is the second in a series of futuristic, humorous, fun-filled chapter books, suitable for readers 7+ years old. The book is written in the first-person and is set 400+ years into the future. A larger font, plenty of white space and scattered monochrome cartoon drawings target an audience just starting their journey with chapter books.

The future looks bright with the splinternet, zip-coasters, hover-skates and gigapixel cameras and no doubt young readers will be keen to follow more Max Booth adventures. If they haven’t already, readers are encouraged to check out Book 1: Tape Escape and stay tuned for more books in the series.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Max Booth: Tape Escape Book 1

Max Booth: Tape Escape by Cameron MacIntosh, illustrated by Dave Atze
(Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 978-1-925520-60-6

Reviewed by Ann Harth

Tape Escape is Book 1 of the Max Booth Future Sleuth series and introduces 11-year-old Max and Oscar, his robotic dog, in the year 2424. After escaping from the Home for Unclaimed Urchins, Max is constantly on the run from the Unclaimed Urchin Capture Squad. He and Oscar now live in a cosy box in a museum storeroom after being befriended by Jessie, the storeroom supervisor. Jessie often enlists Max to help her solve the mysteries surrounding some of the artefacts she must identify from the 20th century.

In Tape Escape, Max is mystified when presented with a cassette tape from the 1980s. After sneaking into the library and conducting dangerous research, Max devises an ingenious technique of playing the tape and discovers that it contains recorded music from the legendary David Snowie. The tape is worth millions. When it’s stolen by an evil forensic musicologist, Max and Oscar must recover the tape and return it to Jessie and the museum.

Max’s world feels real from the very first page. Readers 8-10 will enjoy the blistering pace, the humour and also the clever, futuristic contraptions that are integrated into the action. The black and white drawings scattered throughout add visual cues that enhance the story and characters.

I highly recommend this book to young readers, as they will be taken on an enjoyable journey into the recent past as well as into the future. They don’t need to have lived in the 80s to enjoy the humour in this book, but it will touch some funny bones in parents and teachers as well. I will definitely look forward to Book 2: Selfie Search.

Cameron MacIntosh  has written more than 80 books for children and edited hundreds more for educational publishers. He has studied Psychology, Italian and Professional Writing. When he’s not wrapped up in the world of books, he sings and plays guitar in his Melbourne home.

Reviewer’s blurb:
Ann Harth is an author, ghostwriter, writing mentor and manuscript assessor. She loves to read and is committed to creating and helping to create children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind.



Thursday, 19 October 2017

Cameron Macintosh and his Max Book Future Sleuth Series

Today I’m talking with Cameron Macintosh, author of the recently-released Max Booth Future Sleuth series.

Let’s start with the most obvious question – what’s your new series about?
So far we’ve got two books out in the series: Tape Escape and Selfie Search. They’re both set in the year 2424, and are about a street kid, Max, and his hazardous missions to identify artifacts from the distant past – which just happens to be our present day, or hereabouts. Max makes a very humble living from identifying these objects, but there’s always a greedy adult or two wanting to take advantage of his hard work.

Is there a particular reason you tend to gravitate towards science fiction when you write for children?
Sci-fi isn’t the first genre I lean towards as a reader, but I find speculation about the future to be a really useful inspiration for fun story ideas. It also offers the chance for all kinds of meaningful discussions between kids and parents or teachers – whether it’s about ways technology will evolve, or about how our present-day lifestyles are impacting on the planet’s future.

The Max Booth books are your first leap from educational writing into the world of mainstream trade fiction. How has the experience varied for you?
In terms of writing, there’s a lot more freedom. Educational writing usually involves quite a strict brief, but that’s not necessarily a problem – those parameters are very helpful in guiding a manuscript towards completion. When it’s you who’s setting the parameters, the process can be a lot slower!

The other main difference is at the promotional end of the process. With my educational books, I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to be part of the promotion. If they’re part of a successful series or reading program, it’s generally the reputation of the series that sells them, as much as I’d like to take all the credit! Now, with Max, I’m doing interviews, interacting with blogs and doing a bit of hustle to support the sales. It’s a new world to me, but I’m really enjoying the ride.


What do you think is the biggest trap that people should beware of when writing for children?
Relying too much on inspiration from books you read as a child can be a problem. I constantly have to mentally detach myself from certain key books. It’s really important to keep up with what’s being published and what’s being enjoyed out there in 2017. For me, though, the big one is to avoid writing down to anyone. Kids are incredibly savvy and they know when they’re being patronised.

How do you avoid that?
On a first draft of anything, I just imagine myself in the main character’s place and try to experience his or her main emotions in that situation as honestly as possible. Hopefully by the end of the first draft, the text has an emotional and conceptual integrity that will survive the redrafting process. On the second and third drafts I think more consciously about the age of the reader, and how they’ll interact with the words. It’s then that I make any changes to sentence construction or concepts to bring the text into line.

So how does that work when you write the Max Booth stories?
Fortunately, I find it gets easier the older the central character happens to be. Max is 11, an age I have very vivid memories of being – it’s the cusp of great change and the dawning of a lot more world-awareness, so it doesn’t tend to take too much conscious effort.

What are some of your favourite kids’ books on the market at the moment?
I really love the Tom Gates books by Liz Pichon, and anything by Shaun Tan. Another favourite at the moment is Ickypedia by the Listies (Matt Kelly and Richard Higgins) – a dictionary of disgusting new words. It really is laugh-out-loud funny.

Are they similar to the kinds of books you enjoyed as a child?
There are definitely some parallels in terms of their off-centre humour and slightly odd settings, but I tended to gravitate towards longer books by authors like Roald Dahl, Judy Blume and Paul Jennings. My most beloved book for years was Under Plum Lake by Lionel Davidson, about a child who visits a wondrous civilisation beneath the bottom of the sea. I know a lot of people find it too dark, but I still reread it every few years to try to relive the magic of it.

Is humour important in your own writing?
I always try to get some humour in, especially when dealing with more serious subject matter. Humour is a great door-opener for exploring darker topics – in the case of Max Booth, I tend to use it when Max is dealing with the extreme class snobbery in his future world. I also think that when you’re trying to excite reluctant readers, action is important, but giggles will do even more to keep the pages turning.

Is it hard to judge what a child reader will find funny?
I’m blessed with a very childish sense of humour, which definitely helps! It’s always slightly dangerous trying to judge what anyone else – of any age – will find funny, but as long as I’m getting a giggle from a line or a situation, I’m fairly confident that most of the readers will enjoy it too. It’s really important to keep up with the kinds of humorous books today’s kids are reading, and to seek feedback from the kids in your own family or social circle.

Writing can be a precarious way to make a living: what keeps you going?
It comes down to a very strong belief in the power of stories – the ability of this craft to remind people how intertwined, and how similar, we all really are. Stories have the unique ability to remind us of this without specifically reminding us of it – and to let us walk in other people’s shoes temporarily too. It’s a real privilege to be part of an industry that values these possibilities.

On that note, thanks for the chat, and all the best for the next Max Booth adventure.
Thanks very much. Book 3 is roaring into shape as we speak – only slowed down by overly frequent coffee breaks!

The Max Booth stories are available at bigskypublishing.com.au or through your local bookshop.

Cameron can be found online at www.cameronemacintosh.com.au, on Facebook as ‘Cameron Macintosh, author’, and on Twitter @CamMaci99.