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MAX’S WORDS by Kate Banks


by Kate Banks & illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 2006
ISBN: 0-374-39949-2
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

When a lad’s request for a stamp or a coin from his brothers’ collections is rudely rejected, he takes up collecting something far more valuable. Kulikov’s pop-eyed, faintly grotesque figures give the tale both a tongue-in-cheek air and a metaphorical quality. Max, disheveled and oddly dressed next to his neatly groomed siblings, is the picture of a creative type, and contemplating the drifts of words (in a wide variety of typefaces) that he’s clipped from newspapers and magazines, he begins to lay out a story that soon has his brothers leaving their static gatherings of loot behind to join in: “When Benjamin put his stamps together, he had just a pile of stamps. When Karl put his coins together, he had just a pile of money. But when Max put his words together, he had a thought.” It’s a point that has been made elsewhere—most recently in Roni Schotter’s The Boy Who Loved Words (March 2006), illustrated by Giselle Potter—but is always worth making again. (Picture book. 6-8)