Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Oldy but Goody: Most-of-the-Time Maxie by Adelaide Holl illustrated by Hilary Knight

Text copyright © 1974 by Adelaide Holl, Illustrations copyright ©1974 by Hilary Knight

I tend to gravitate toward books that feature children using their imagination and being creative: Cromwell Dixon's Sky-cycle by John Abbott Nez,  The Adventures of Sparrowboy  by Brian Pinkney, Andrew Henry's Meadow by Doris Burn, If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen. I guess in this hi-tech world, I want my brood to appreciate the simplicity but endless power of their imagination. Most-of-the-Time Maxie helps them do just that.

Maxie was Maxie, most of the time -
  Maxie MacDougal McCoy.
He was not very big, and not very small,
Not very short, and not very tall,
  Just an everyday kind of a boy.

But he had the most marvelous, magical powers.
He could do the most wonderful stunts.
At the drop of a hat - maybe quicker than that -
He could stop being Maxie, at once,

The story, told in a very lively rhyme, shows all of the exciting people Maxie can become with his imagination:

a pirate

an astronaut
a matador and a muscle man
a firefighter,
a police officer and a bull rider,
Maxi also becomes an explorer, racecar driver, cowboy, knight, tightrope walker, trapeze artist, wild animal tamer, pilot, train engineer and taxicab driver. Whew! I think the only occupations missing are a butcher, baker and  candlestick maker.

In all of his imagined occupations, Maxie is accompanied by his trusty canine companion. The pup is engaging in some comical action at all times.  In the astronaut illustration, he is clutching an air sickness bag.  In the firefighter illustration, he is painting spots on himself to resemble a dalmatian etc.

The Chicago Public Library doesn't own Most-of-the-Time Maxie, but it is available in used condition on Amazon. I discovered this gem at a thrift shop, and I cannot tell you how many requests for a reading I have received over the years. Best $.50, I have ever spent!


  1. I love it when a nice copy of an out-of-print book can be purchased online for less than a dollar. Of course finding it at a thrift store and saving the shipping cost is better still! So Hilary Knight's illustrations are wonderful and very familiar to me, but the name Adelaide Holl rang a bell also. A quick search revealed that she also wrote Sir Kevin of Devon, a family favorite. So I'm doubly excited to find this book.

  2. Kimberly, you would think I won the lotto when I find a great vintage book at a thrift store, I get so excited. We also love Sir Kevin of Devon. The boys just recited the first lines for me to type. "In days of old, and times gone by, when knights were bold and castles high, there lived in the town of East North Devon a little boy whose name was Kevin. A smallish lad, not quite eleven."

  3. So we just got this through inter-library loan yesterday. I read it to my youngest while the older two were at school. She immediately wanted a repeat reading. Love it!

    I noted a post some time ago in which you indicated that you have your house on the market. I've been trying to do some de-junking this spring. It would require a tremendous effort to get us ready for a move. Beyond that, I'm trying to imagine keeping our home clean enough to show at short notice. And then packing up all our books. Yikes! I wish you the best of luck with this entire process!