Tag Archives: Car racing

Kensy and Max #8: High Voltage – Jacqueline Harvey


Penguin Australia

September 2021

  • ISBN: 9781760898557
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $16.99

Get ready for your kiddos to clamour to be the first – and then the next – to borrow Jacqueline Harvey’s newest book in the dynamite Kensy and Max series! This is another knock-out episode in the thrilling adventures of the twins and their family and friends – though, ostensibly, in this book everyone is meant to be on a happy relaxing family holiday.

After some tense action over the school term, Granny Cordelia decrees a holiday for the entire family in a picturesque Portuguese villa with loads of sunshine, beach, delicious food, time to chill and absolutely no phones, devices or espionage! Their holiday villa just happens right next door to the epicentre of all the action surrounding the E-Prix Championships, Wolf Motors, and an innovative new vehicle called the Wolf Electra. Soon it seems that everyone in the family is secretively investigating something as strange and disturbing incidents start to rapidly escalate. Of course, the twins and their buddies, Curtis and Autumn, are right in the thick of things and doing their very best to unravel the intricacies of kidnapping, sabotage and family secrets.

This newest mission takes the family spy business a step further as the twins’ mother, who had declared herself to be no longer interested in being an active agent, revises her position and takes an active guiding role in their investigations. Also adding more depth to characters, who have been somewhat on the periphery, readers will enjoy finding out more about Mim, and her past relationship with James Wolf – not to mention his former association with the family.

High-powered race cars and the glamour of the sport combined with the spy antics of Pharos are an intoxicating combination, and the tension and threats around the championships, the reveal of a game-changing new SUV and the evolving status of family and friends certainly will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

My readers eagerly anticipate each new title so I know this one will most definitely be in high demand as soon as it hits our shelves, particularly as we approach the holidays. No doubt many of you will already have it on pre-order but if not, then add it to your shopping list at high speed or suffer the consequences (that will be strident nagging most likely I predict).

It’s not often that an author manages to keep her dedicated fan base once they move on past the intended audience, in my experience – they often seem to ‘grow out’ of certain favourites but that is most definitely not the case with Jacqueline’s works.

My highest recommendation goes without saying for this new cracker in a highly successful series – the joy her creativity brings to readers is inspiring.

Max Champion and the Great Race Car Robbery – Alexander McCall-Smith



Bloomsbury Children’s


July 2018

RRP:  $19.99

Alexander McCall-Smith has long been a favoured writer for adults for me – in fact I’m listening to one of his audio books in the daily commute at present.

I’ve bought several of the young Precious series for the library as so many of my Juniors just love detective stories but this is the first of his children’s books I’ve read that is on a different topic altogether.

Max lives with his mum and his grandpa in a small house just big enough for them all – though Grandpa Gus sleeps in his own little shed. They don’t have much money but they do have a lot of optimism and a whole lot of love for each other. Grandpa fixes older style cars in his rundown workshop, Mum has a busy sandwich making business and even Max helps out by mowing lawns as well as washing cars that are in for repairs.

One day Max discovers that Grandpa Gus once had a very successful race car building enterprise and also a well-regarded rally driving career until it was all taken away by the ghastly Grabber family – rich, powerful and out-and-out cheats.

When an opportunity presents itself for Max to prove the nefarious actions of the Grabbers he seizes it without hesitation.

This is a simple feel-good story for newly independent readers that resonates with themes of honesty, hard work and confidence. Young readers will enjoy seeing the Grabbers get their come-uppance and as  read-aloud would provide much discussion on ethical behaviour and values.

Recommended for readers from around Year 2 upwards.

An activity pack can be found here.