Written by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Matte Stephens
First meet Martin, a boy so averse to change that he rides his old red bicycle because his new red bicycle is too new and scary to ride. Next meet Mr. Flux, an artist who embraces change and loves to mix things up. And now watch what happens when Mr. Flux gives Charlie a box full of change…
At first Charlie tries to return it, “because change is upsetting and we like things just the way they are.” But Mr. Flux insists “…everything changes. Look around you. A dewdrop, a bubble, a cloud. What stays the same?”
Soon Charlie is making some teensy-weensy changes. And before you know it, as he spends more and more time with Mr. Flux, Charlie is not only making change but encouraging his family and neighbors to change too.
But the biggest change comes when Mr. Flux moves away, forcing Charlie to wonder “what if…nothing ever changed again?”
The lesson in this story is heavy handed at times, with a full spread of quotes in support of change. But the whimsical illustrations and absurd behavior of the book’s characters coat the lesson with the type of sugar that third grade readers will love.
The message also comes in layers, addressing everything from art appreciation to friendship between people who confuse and puzzle each other. And a surprising twist at the end increases reading comprehension with a fun play on words.
In a note from the author at the end of the book, readers are introduced to “Fluxus” an art movement that started in the 1960s and “brought together artists, filmmakers and musicians from all over the world who shared a love of humor and playfulness and change.” In this sense, the author and illustrators have done a great job of showing Fluxus in action and encouraging readers to look at the world around them in a new way.
- Title: Mr. Flux
- Author: Kyo Maclear
- Illustrator: Matte Stephens
- Publisher: Kids Can Press
- Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge
- Book Length: 36 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-58469-137-2 (hardback)
- Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Art
- Lexile Score: 840