In the style of this trio's long-popular Leo the Late Bloomer (1971), etc., another cautionary tale about a young person (Max happens to be a hippo) who travels by his own quirky route to an accommodation with the adult world. Max plays all kinds of instruments, from trombone to synthesizer. Only his mother is wholly sympathetic to his practicing. (Max's father says,"" 'Oh, for a child without talent!' 'From your side, maybe. From my side, impossible,' "" says his mother.) But when Max decides he's no longer ""in the mood""--a state that lasts from one baseball season until the next spring--even the neighbots begin to crave his music. Illustrated in Amego and Dewey's usual expressive, idiosyncratic style and exuberant colors, this will be a welcome companion to the earlier books.