Max’s Words

Illustrated by Boris Kulikov Published August 2006

Max’s brothers have grand collections that everyone makes a big fuss over. Benjamin collects stamps and Karl collects coins, and neither one will share with their little brother. So Max decides to start a collection of his own. He’s going to collect words. He starts with small words that he cuts out of newspapers and magazines, but soon his collection has spilled out into the hall. All the while, his brothers are watching. Benjamin brags that he has one thousand stamps. Karl is just a few coins short of five hundred. But a thousand stamps is really just a bunch of stamps, and a lot of coins is only a heap of money. A pile of words, however, can make a story.

Bright, bold pictures incorporating clever wordplay accompany this highly original tale about a younger brother’s ingenuity.

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School Library Journal

Imaginative, softly colored illustrations reveal the gathered words scattered all over the pages. They are fine examples of concrete poetry: HUNGRY has a chunk bitten out of it; ALLIGATOR has teeth and an eye peering from the R; BASEBALL is printed in the shape of a bat. The text is set in a variety of styles and sometimes curves around the piles of Maxs collection. This tale pays homage to the written word and may get children thinking about cutting and pasting their own stories or creating concrete poetry. -–Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI


Kulikov’s signature style, which incorporates exaggerated expressions, unusual perspectives, and big-eyed characters, is a perfect match for Banks’ clever tale. Kids are naturally inclined to collect things, and the idea of accumulating something intangible in this delightful homage to storytelling will intrigue them. In a word: captivating. –Julie Cummins