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Max's Dragon    by Kate Banks & Boris Kulikov order for
Max's Dragon
by Kate Banks
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Max's Dragon is a follow-up to last year's Max's Words by the same author/illustrator team. In that delightful book, which is one of our favorites around my house, we learn about the power of words, which is something that Max collects. In a similar vein, Max's Dragon is about the power of the imagination. As usual, Max is the black sheep of his trio of brothers. The others appear to be older than he is, and they often dismiss his ideas.

In this setting, the brothers are all playing outside. The older boys, Karl and Benjamin, are playing croquet, but Max is looking for words that rhyme. He finds an umbrella on the ground and begins making up rhymes, such as 'There's a dragon in my wagon.' His brothers remain disinterested. Later Max tries to find shapes in the clouds. He insists he sees his dragon in the sky, but then a big black cloud approaches. 'If my dragon isn't faster, there'll be a big disaster,' he says.

Soon, Max convinces his siblings that there really is a dragon, and they join Max in making rhymes that will scare it away. The boys then pool their resources by making rhymes and playing together for the rest of the day. I love this illustrator's style. The children's features are somewhat exaggerated, but are nevertheless realistic. The colors are soft, with orange-brown hues as the dominant tone, lending to the warmth of the story. Children will enjoy looking for the hidden dragon on each page.

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