Cover image for Max and Marla
Max and Marla
Physical Description:
1 volume (unnumbered) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Reading Level:
490 L Lexile
"Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it'll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance"--

"Olympians in training, Max and Marla show us how dedication, persistence and friendship will always lead to sucess!"--


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY BOI 0 1
Book EASY BOI 1 1

On Order



Two fearless Olympians sled to victory in this delightful new picture book

Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it'll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories!

With delightful illustrations and charming text, Alexandra Boiger brings to life the story of two unstoppable pals--true Olympians who never give up!

Author Notes

Alexandra Boiger grew up in Munich, Germany as the youngest of seven children. She studied Graphic Design at the Fachhochschule Augsburg before working in Feature Animation at Warner Brothers and Dreamworks. After working in animation, Alexandra decided to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a children's book illustrator, gathering a following as the illustrator of the popular Tallulah series. Max and Marla is her debut title as both author and illustrator. Alexandra now lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Boiger (the Tallulah series) nods to the Winter Olympics in this tale of sled-riding friends, her debut as author. Max, a boy, and Marla, a snowy owl, imagine themselves "true Olympians." In their alpine village-a cluster of cool-blue houses laden with snow-Max and Marla watch a bobsledder on TV, gear up ("Preparation is key"), and tote their sled outside. At first, they "face technical difficulties" when their stuck sled won't glide. The next day, they wax the runners and step out again, only to be swept into a tree. With each misadventure, they modify their approach. They exchange knit hats for helmets, bundle up in parkas, and (ill-advisedly) tie themselves to their sled with red string. In Boiger's softly rounded watercolor-and-ink images, Max and Marla's brick-red outfits stand out against icy blues, lavenders, and grays. The visual and verbal narrative feels at times too spare, yet Boiger excels at closely observed, affectionate details, like Max carrying a snoozing Marla to bed, or the friends stringing donuts on ribbons to serve as Olympic medals. Ages 3-5. Agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Max and his pet owl "are true Olympians"--they never give up, even after attempts to make a grand sled-run down a very steep hill are thwarted by dull runners, bad weather, and severe colds. Evocative illustrations in a palette of mostly frosty blues with accents of rusty red portray a cozy mountain village and two very determined aspiring Olympians. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Max and Marla are best friends and, as the narrator believes, true Olympians. Marla also happens to be a small snow owl. The story opens with the young boy and owl lying atop a sled, watching a televised luge race in the Winter Olympics. Inspired and ready to prove that they are Olympic material, too, they bundle up, do some stretches (Preparation is key), and march outside. At the top of a massive snow-covered hill, Max and Marla climb onto the sled and . . . sit. A quick equipment check shows the sled needs a tune-up, so back inside they go. Over the next three days, the duo faces different obstacles, all the while adding improvements to their getting-ready routine, until finally conditions are perfect and their hard work pays off. Boiger's watercolor-and-ink illustrations carry a sweetness of expression and make use of an icy palette of white and blues, with occasional pops of color. Many little lessons are imparted in Boiger's debut, but its mantra remains, True Olympians never give up. --Smith, Julia Copyright 2015 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Max and his best friend, Marla the owl, are real winter Olympians. "Honest to goodness. Cross your heart." At least, that is, in spirit. They understand the importance of preparing. They put on their snow caps and scarves, warm up a bit, take the sled, and head to the snowy outdoors. Up they climb to the top of the hill, "ready, set, GO!" Not quite. There are technical difficulties with the sled, but "true Olympians never give up," so back inside Max waxes the blades with assistance of sorts from Marla, who naps on the couch. The next day they add "a number of improvements," including goggles, matching red helmets, and a fancy belt, to their athletic wardrobe. Out they fearlessly go again, but the wind and snow send them flying, quite literally. It's time to take a rest for a day, because that is very important preparation for sports as well. Fully recovered, Max and Marla prepare with some more exercises and bundle up in too-big ski jackets. This time they tie themselves to the sled so they won't fall off, but they end up tumbling down the mountain and turning into giant snowballs. Real Olympians turn defeat into victory, so the two have fun making snow angels and later reward themselves with hot chocolate and doughnuts turned Olympic medals. The charming illustrations, presented in shades of winter blue, were created with watercolor and ink and enhanced with Photoshop. Pudgy Marla is an excellent sidekick for Max, a cute kid with a too-large head. VERDICT A humorous addition to winter tales and a good story about persistence in pursuing goals.-Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A boy and an owl learn what it takes to become true Olympians in this picture book. Best friends Max and Marla, the narrator tells readers, are Olympians. Although Max is a little boy and Marla is an owl, the narrator insists they are "real-life, honest to goodness, cross your heartOlympians." When Max and Marla set out to sled down a snowy mountain slope but don't slide, they realize that their sled needs wax and that "preparation is key." Attempt No. 2 ends when an out-of-control wind takes them into a tree. But "true Olympians never give up," and after a recovery sick day, when the Olympians learn that "taking care of yourself is...probably most important of all," they try again. Despite their careful preparations, the sled crashes once more, and Max and Marla end up as balls of snow, which they turn into snow angels as they extricate themselves. The summary attribute, an attitude that turns "obstaclesinto victories," is underscored by the final illustration, showing Max and Marla bestowing doughnut "medals" to each other. Author/illustrator Boiger's story is graceful, and her limited-palette watercolor illustrations in well-designed combinationsincluding spot illustrations, full-page bleeds, and double-page spreadseffectively keep readers' attention on the story and do not overwhelm with gratuitous detail. A fun-filled story that delivers the true nature of the Olympian spirit. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.