by Stephanie S. Tolan, Illustrated by Amy June Bates

Arthur A. Levine Books, $5.99, 146 pages

Max is a third grader that is adjusting to a new school, but he is being bullied. He has an imaginary dog named King who is his constant companion, even during school. Max doesn’t want to have to deal with the issue of the bully, a new school and a father that isn’t interested in being a part of his family’s life. He wants his imaginary friend to be a real friend.

He recesses into his fantasy world and meets the owner of Wishworks, Inc., a place that grants real wishes. While Max knows this is just a dream world, his wish is granted in the real world and things aren’t quite what he expected. When he makes a second wish to fix the first one, the situation doesn’t get much better.

Max learns that he is not alone in his feelings and makes a human friend who understands him. He also learns that wishes need to be thought out carefully, and that sometimes bullies are just scared boys too. I enjoyed reading this book, as it is a familiar situation. As a child I too was bullied and I escaped into books to deal with the issue. I was happy to read that Max found a buddy to be his real friend and together they saw that bullies have a scared side to them. I am gifting this book to my nephew in the hopes that he finds a friend too.

Tina Weaver