Friendship wins out over natural instincts in another outing with the big-eyed black cat.
In previous outings Max the Brave (2015) and Max at Night (2016), the energetic and persistent titular feline has conquered fears and doggedly researched his way to a happy ending. Now the kitten must reconcile his new friendship with Bird, a similarly ink-heavy creature who looks like a giant single eye with the smallest of wings and a beak. Max must decide whether to follow his gut and make the small bird a snack or to embrace friendship. “But it’s a rule of nature. Birds get chased by kittens,” Max explains. “But friends don’t eat each other up!” Bird retorts. Since Bird is too small to snack on at the moment anyway, the little creature asks Max to help him learn to fly. That involves a trip to the library (“Libraries know everything,” says Bird) and advice from a pigeon. As with the previous books, Max and his companion’s enormous expressiveness makes the story work, but the varying, boldly colored backgrounds and playful typography, particularly the emphatic iterations of “Flap,” enhance the technique even further. Max may not seem like the best choice of friend at first, but he and Bird make a winning duo by book’s end.
Real warmth followed by a rush of triumph helps make this book stand out. (Picture book. 3-6)