When Grandpa Lev's horse, Bubba, gets too old to pull his wagon, the elderly peddler has a problem. Luckily, the fire department has modernized with the purchase of two new engines and all the firehorses are to be auctioned off. Grandpa Lev and his grandchildren, Simon and Yetty, bid on Maximilian, a handsome black horse with a white star on his forehead, because Max seems to enjoy the fiddle music he hears at the auction. Grandpa Lev loves music, too, and was a violinist in the old country. All goes well on Max's first day until a fire bell clangs; the horse is off like a shot, with all Grandpa Lev's wares strewn across town. With his violin, Grandpa Lev changes the firehorse's old habits to those of a peddler's best friend. Although it's wordy, newcomer London's tale, based on family stories, has the ring of authenticity. It's well-paced and mostly smooth, with gentle touches of humor and an original resolution. Fluid line-and-watercolor illustrations complement the story by conjuring up the entire community and depicting Max in action in the old-fashioned streets.