Thursday, February 14, 2019

MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS by Margaret Chiu Greanias & Lesley Breen Withrow - A fun story about accepting your true self

I have been exchanging manuscripts for critique with the author of this book, Margaret, for a few years, and I am still blown away by her creativity. I was excited to purchase this book for my own collection and to share it with my students.

Summary from the publisher:

Maximillian Villainous is a monster who doesn’t have the heart to be a villain. His famous family pulls pranks on the likes of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and Max spends his time undoing them. So when he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, Max’s disapproving mother hatches a plan. She challenges Max and the bunny to become a devious duo; otherwise . . . the bunny hops. If they want to stay together, Max and the bunny have no choice but to go against their nature. They blunder into villainy with comical effect until Max discovers that embracing his good heart may just be the key to pulling off the most devious deed of all and winning his family’s acceptance.

Delightfully fun and irreverent, Maximillian Villainous is an empowering story about embracing one’s true self and finding acceptance. Up and coming illustrator Lesley Breen Withrow brings the characters to life with bold and colorful illustrations in a style reminiscent of Richard Scarry.

Maximillian Villainous was written by Margaret Chiu Greanias and illustrated by Lesley Breen Withrow. It was published by Running Press Kids in 2018.


Maximillian Villainous came from a long line of famous villains. But Max was different from his family.

My Thoughts as a Writer:

How lovely to read a story where the main character can’t help being kind! Although the theme of a character learning to accept his differences isn’t new, the author has provided a twist by having him come from a family of villains. The ending and solution to his problem was a nice surprise. I really liked the big, colourful illustrations.

My Thoughts as an Educator:

The main character in this story shows persistence as he makes several attempts to fit in with his family by being villainous. This is a fun read for children, though the idea of a “bunny brigade” may need a little explaining. A nice book for discussions about kindness to others or working towards goals.

Ages: 4 - 9

Grades: K – 4

Themes: kindness, individual differences, persistence


List: What act of kindness could Max and his bunny try next? Make a list of ideas.

Research: What is your family known for? Make a “family tree” and write something each family member is good at. What is your “claim to fame”?

STEM challenge: Design and construct your own leprechaun trap.

For more Perfect Picture Book Friday reads with teacher and/or parent tips, check out the list on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

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