From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Mr. Flux is an agent of change whose mysterious arrival rocks the staid burbs in which very-well-behaved Martin lives. Curiously predictable, the story is devoid of the very plot twists that it seems Mr. Flux would approve of. This is your standard "change-can-be-good" story, but it also seems to push the agenda of the Fluxus movement of the 1960s a little harder than will appeal to most children. (An author's note explains that the story is loosely based on Fluxus artist George Maciunas.) Mr. Flux, for example, inspires the local librarian to throw salad into a wading pool, making change seem more for the sake of wackiness than for anything meaningful or even enjoyable. Stephens's cubist perspectives give Mr. Flux's monocle a curious place on the side of his face, making his oddball art the perfect fit for the story line. The appealing blues and greens, tall size, and thick paper stock will make the book stand out on the shelf, but the text will likely appeal only to adults trying to coax their children out of the safety of routines.-Jenna Boles, Washington-Centerville Public Library, OHα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this picture book for those who are dubious about change—and who isn’t, a little bit, really?—Mr. Flux tells the story of Martin, a young boy who lives in a tidy little square house in a quiet and sedate neighborhood. Quiet and sedate, that is, until Mr. Flux arrives, employing a hat as a mailbox, turning a fish into a fountain, and launching a good-natured assault on the status quo. A mysterious box lures Martin to the new arrival’s door, and before you can say uh-oh, Martin is playing ping-pong with olives. With an archly raised eyebrow, Maclear (Spork, 2010; Virginia Wolf, 2012) offers an obvious, enjoyable call for silliness, while newcomer Stephens creates scenes of age-appropriate surrealism to match the mood. The book uses Fluxus, a media-blending artistic movement of the 1960s, as an inspiration and tonal springboard. This will sail over most of the young audience, of course, but anchoring the story in an element of art history gives it an added philosophical dimension, nevertheless. Grades K-2. --Jesse Karp