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Max's Words    by Kate Banks & Boris Kulikov order for
Max's Words
by Kate Banks
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Max's older brothers won't let him play with them very often. They all have different interests: Benjamin is a stamp collector and Karl is a coin collector. When they constantly rebuff Max's attempts to share their prized possessions, he decides to start a collection of his own: words.

Max proceeds to cut words out of magazines and newspapers. His collection of words grows by leaps and bounds. At first, his brothers tease him about it as they cannot understand his purpose, but Max understands: 'When Benjamin put his stamps together, he had just a bunch 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.'

The value that Benjamin and Karl place on their collections is measured in numbers; their small brother sees a deeper value in his collection: 'when I have a few more words, I'll have a story,' said Max. Soon, his brothers become engaged with Max's words, and they all work together to create a story. In exchange for a coin and a stamp, 'Max gave them each some words. And kept the rest for himself.'

I have seen one other book by this illustrator, and both times I enjoyed his caricature-like, larger-than-life drawings. Max reminds me slightly of the little boy from Where the Wild Things Are. This charming book is a keeper as it is a tribute to language and the power of storytelling.

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