Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MAX'S CASTLE by Kate Banks Kirkus Star


by Kate Banks & illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-374-39919-1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Banks and Kulikov’s Max is back in his third escapade of wordplay.

Billing it as a sequel to Max’s Words (2006) and Max’s Dragon (2008), this author/illustrator team again presents a clever tale that embodies the possibilities of a child’s imagination. When Max finds something amazing in a box under his bed—wooden alphabet blocks—he uses them to start building a castle. His two older brothers get into the act, and, lo and behold, WALLS become HALLS, a MOAT becomes a BOAT, PIRATES become RAT PIES, and BATTLE becomes BABBLE as the boys move the blocks, rearrange letters and transform words into a full-blown castle scenario. That is, until the castle comes under siege by a BLACK CAT turned BLOCK CAT ("It must smell the rat pies," says Karl). Playful perspectives, vivid colors and animated action are brilliantly executed with details that require a second look, then a third. Kulikov takes readers back and forth from reality to fantasy using the alphabet blocks as a bridge in inspiring fashion. The “king called his knights to the round table. And for their loyal FEATS he organized a FEAST. From the castle TAPESTRY he made PASTRY. And from the PARAPETS he made TEA.”

This homage to the power of imagination is one ingenious and entertaining game of wordplay.

(Picture book. 5-8)