Max Crack #2: Crack Up – Jules Faber

I think creating quests might have been the single best idea I have EVER HAD.

Max Crack and Frankie Doink, our self-proclaimed “Masters of Quests”, are back in Max’s second quest diary. I enjoyed this diary even more than the first and it already feels like I’ve made two new friends. These kids are just so relatable!

If I’d been in Mrs F’s class with them I would have been jostling to get an invite to help them achieve their quests. If they didn’t let me join in on the fun I probably would have either competed against them or come up with my own adventures. Adult me has even started thinking about the types of quests I could be working on now.

There’s plenty of questing in this book to keep your imagination active. Max and Frankie try to find a meteorite, which could actually be a UFO (you never know!). They embark upon shooting “Thine Moving Picture Questeth the Second”, become Heroes of Science and attempt to get their names in the record books.

When they’re not busy questing, they’re perfecting their secret handshake, making good use of their ninja skills and freaking themselves out with their imaginations. They even have the opportunity to make “coin of the realm”.

We learn about mythological foot soldiers and cosmological archaeology, encounter a honking mad goose and experience Stalac-pop fatigue. We ponder the important things in life: whether aliens travel on meteorites, why the return trip always seems quicker than the trip there and the difficulty in getting grown-ups to commit. Max and Frankie may also be experiencing their first crushes, but don’t tell them I said that; I’m sure they’d deny it.

We heard about the Mistress of the Dark Arts in the first book but in this one we actually get to meet her and she’s my new favourite character. I absolutely love everything about her, from her interests to the way she speaks. I can’t wait to have an excuse to spend more time getting to know her.


In the Doink house, Frankie’s brothers have been in the spotlight. I would also like to get to know his sisters. I loved the inclusion of the new characters and hope they find their way into future diaries.

Books within a book I need in my life:

  • Extreme Unknown Mysteries of the Mysterious Unknown Extremes
  • Alien Invaders on Your Pizza.

Once again I had fun seeking out the variations of well known names. I chuckled when I read about Playbox games, but my absolute favourite was when the comic book creator, Stanley le’Stan, was mentioned.

I got to enjoy more of Frankie’s theories, like the Invisible City Theory and the one that puts forth a compelling argument for Santa’s alien origins.


While you could jump right into the series with this diary I’d recommend you read them in order. This one assumes you know about the quests Max and Frankie have already completed, so you’ll step in some spoilers for the first book along the way.

If anyone needs me I’ll be waiting for the next bridge accident to happen. I was intrigued but a bit hesitant when I began this series as I’ve previously only loved Jules Faber’s work as an illustrator but I’m hooked and can’t wait to see what quests Max and Frankie come up with next.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan Australia for introducing me to this fun new series.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Max Crack and his best friend Frankie are back with even more quest-ordinary adventures!

Armed with a shiny new quest list, they are on a mission to find a meteorite, make a movie, solve a sisterly feud, eat truckloads of chocolate, set a World Record …

Read all about it!

Max Crack #1: The Quest Diaries of Max Crack – Jules Faber

I’ve discovered a fun new children’s series and it’s written by the illustrator of one of my favourite children’s book series, Anh Do’s WeirDo. Written in diary form and featuring oodles of illustrations, we meet Max Crack, who’s just moved to Piddown.

While Max didn’t want to move house, at least the kids in his new school don’t know the embarrassing things he’s done. He’s determined to make the best of it so decides to embark upon a series of quests. His first quest is to find a best friend and it’s lucky he does because now he has a partner in crime for all of his future quests.


Frankie tells Max all of the important stuff about the town, like where the Mistress of the Dark Arts lives, and introduces him to his Doink family. The Doinks have lots of children so their house can be chaotic, but for only child Max it’s a novelty. The Doink’s even have their own vocabulary!

The new best friends share a love of adventure, comics and jokes. Happily for me, there are even some pirate jokes.


Max experiences some brand new embarrassing moments and together he and Frankie discover dinosaurs, search for Loch Ness monsters and tell fart jokes (they’re a requisite for pre-teen boys, aren’t they?). They compete in a spelling bee with some super dooper hard words and hunt for buried treasure, where O marks the spot.

Whatever our next quest will be, we’re going to do it together. I’m learning that THAT’s what best friends do.

I enjoyed the variations on well known people, foods and other items. Mars bars become Pluto bars. A famous rock band becomes Peck. My favourite minor character in this book was Nick ‘No Nickname’ Name.

I also had a favourite neighbour: Mrs Pembroke, who has an abundance of chocolate to give away.

I found the kids very relatable. I look forward to hearing some more of Frankie’s theories, which currently include the Sacrificial Skunk Theory. Some of his theories made more sense to me than others but I’m not a pre-teen boy, so what do I know?!

My favourite line involved Frankie mishearing Max when he mentioned a paradox.


I always look forward to Jules Faber’s illustrations in Anh Do’s WeirDo series. Even if I didn’t know Jules had written this book I would have picked he’d illustrated it in a heartbeat. This is pure conjecture but I’m going to go out on a limb here. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the future there’s a WeirDo/Max Crack crossover where we learn that Max and Weir are distant relatives.

If you don’t believe I could possibly be right, check out this illustration from the second WeirDo book and tell me you don’t see the family resemblance between Max and Mrs Do.


This is Max Crack, legend, quest-seeker and awesome best friend SIGNING OFF.

Time to begin book 2!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Hi everyone! I’m Max Crack and this awesome book is all about me and my quests and my best friend Frankie!

Buried treasure, new school, doodles, peanut butter and honey toast, best friends, horrible blobs, mysteries, Meddlyslop, spelling bees (hard words, harder words), more doodles, comics, World War Undies … this book has it ALL.