Magnum Maximus, a Marvelous Measurer

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Overview

Magnus Maximus is a marvelous measurer. He measures wetness and dryness, nearness and farness, and everything in between. When a lion escapes from a traveling circus, Magnus and his trusty measuring tape come to the rescue. Now a hero, all is well until the day Magnus accidentally breaks his glasses, and he sees—for the first time—that he’s been missing out on life’s simple pleasures.

Kathleen T. Pelley’s marvelous tale and S. D. Schindler's inspired illustrations remind us that...

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Overview

Magnus Maximus is a marvelous measurer. He measures wetness and dryness, nearness and farness, and everything in between. When a lion escapes from a traveling circus, Magnus and his trusty measuring tape come to the rescue. Now a hero, all is well until the day Magnus accidentally breaks his glasses, and he sees—for the first time—that he’s been missing out on life’s simple pleasures.

Kathleen T. Pelley’s marvelous tale and S. D. Schindler's inspired illustrations remind us that the best things in life are not meant to be measured, but treasured.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The alliterative title gives a taste of all the verbal frolicking to follow in Pelley's (Inventor McGregor) whimsical tale of an obsessive measurer named Magnus Maximus. When a circus lion walks into town, “People screamed and scrambled up lampposts. They skittered and scattered. They flitted and fluttered in a terrible dither.” But not the elderly Magnus, who earns the title of “town's official measurer,” after he stuns the lion into submission by measuring the width of its whiskers and fleas in its mane. A gentle lesson awaits the ultrafocused Magnus when a boy befriends him and teaches him that even more important than measuring the “floppiest ears” or the “stinkiest socks” is the “snugness of a hand in a hand.” Though sweet, the turn of events is not treacly, keeping the tale's pleasing silliness at the forefront. With equal humor, Schindler's (Cat Dreams) muted, intricately crosshatched illustrations depict a formal, British 19th-century setting, with corseted ladies and men in top hats—the perfect foil to the ludicrous scenes. The comically pained expression of the lion, his whiskers stretched out to measure, is priceless. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
What a marvelous reading adventure Magnus Maximus is for any reader!.. This book should certainly be placed in every library and read often by adults and children.” –Starred, Library Media Connection

“Children will enjoy the humor in this eccentric’s ever-increasing obsession.” School Library Journal

“What a wonderful story for the children’s hour! Even adults will be mesmerized by the obsessively measuring Magnus..” —San Francisco Book Review

“Though sweet, the turn of events is not treacly, keeping the tale's pleasing silliness at the forefront. With equal humor, Schindler's muted, intricately crosshatched illustrations depict a formal, British 19th-century setting, with corseted ladies and men in top hats—the perfect foil to the ludicrous scenes. The comically pained expression of the lion, his whiskers stretched out to measure, is priceless.” —Publishers Weekly

“A lovely marriage of word and image. Pelley’s text is brightly humorous and musical.” Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
An old man named Magnus Maximus loves to measure things, not ordinary ones but extraordinary things like wetness and dryness or nearness and farness. He also likes to count extraordinary things, like the clouds in the sky or the measles on a tummy, and he writes it all down. One day, a lion escapes from the circus and terrorizes the town, but Magnus makes the lion halt while he measures and counts everything on the lion, from his tail and his whiskers to the fleas in his mane. By then his trainer has come to take him away. The people are so impressed with Magnus that they have a ceremony to unveil a statue of him. The town keeps him so busy measuring that he never notices anything beautiful or anyone else. It is only when he breaks his glasses that a young boy teaches him that there is more to life. Schindler creates an old-fashioned town using fine lines and subtle colors, including naturalistic but humorous characters. In vignettes and double-page scenes we see inventive measuring, the town and its citizens, the brass band, and even the queen. We are glad to see Magnus learning to live a richer life. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Magnus Maximus measures and counts everything from houses to people to spots on dogs and even the stinkiest socks. When his self-designed job leads him to measure an escaped circus lion, resulting in his saving the town, the people honor him with a statue. (Even the queen came!) The elderly man then takes his measuring to a new level. He works so hard that he falls asleep before he can count his blessings. It's not until he steps on his glasses that he takes a break and discovers some of the simple pleasures in life. Children will enjoy the humor in this eccentric's ever-increasing obsession. Fine ink lines and muted watercolors fill the illustrations with small details, add humor, and complete the story. The art firmly places it in the Victorian era, a time of scientific exploration. The style perfectly captures the focus of the marvelous measurer and his scientific obsession.—Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Magnus Maximus has a walrus mustache, a benign countenance and a preoccupation: measuring and counting. He doodles about his day, counting this and measuring that-petals on a geranium, raisins in a bun, wetness and dryness, nearness and farness-then slapping the tally, jotted on a piece of paper, onto the object of his interest. Seemingly oblivious, he corrals an escaped lion to do some close calculations and for his good citizenry is named his town's official measurer. Maximus myopically goes on his way until he breaks his glasses and learns that there is more to life than numbers-like waves to splash in and "the snugness of a hand in a hand." This is a lovely marriage of word and image. Pelley's text is brightly humorous and musical-"Now that he was the town's official measurer, Magnus Maximus had to measure all kinds of NESSes, from the wobbliness of a jellyfish to the itchiness of an itch"-and that goes for Schindler's illustrations as well, with their busily elegant line work, their lustrous washes of color and, best of all, their high and brilliant tomfoolery. (Picture book. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374347253
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 970,111
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.70 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen T. Pelley is the author of Inventor McGregor, illustrated by Michael Chesworth. She lives in Greenwood Village, Colorado. S. D. Schindler has illustrated many picture books, including Margery Cuyler’s Skeleton Hiccups and Ursula K. Le Guin's Cat Dreams. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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