Max’s Words by Kate Banks

The Bottom Line This picture book shows the power of words and creative thinking. It is fun for everyone and can inspire creative writing. Recommended ages: 4-8 Buy Max’s Words at Amazon Pros • Fun for family reading time with multiple-aged children. • Engaging illustrations that support increasing sight words vocabulary. • The book suggests values for collections: sorting, counting, enjoyment, etc. • Great suggestion for creative family story building activity. Cons • Younger children may not have the attention span. • Older children may not stay interested. • The story implies that stamp collecting and coin collecting are less valuable hobbies. • Some of the word illustrations are ambiguous and some fonts are difficult to read. Children will need to use other strategies to learn to read these words.

Description • Max finds words in old newspapers and magazines to build his own collection. • Max models how to be an individual, as well as how to be generous with others. • The author used varied fonts for the word collection and the illustrator used the words from the word collection within the illustrations. For example, the illustrated word “hissed” has snakes for s’s. • The illustrations not only support the text, but at times, are integrated into the text. • Max’s word collection sparks sharing and family creativity. Guide Review – Max’s Words – written by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov The author and illustrator worked collaboratively to create an engaging story about a boy who started a unique collection. His brothers are illustrated as tight-laced and overly formal. Max is illustrated as more relaxed and fun. Max felt left out of his brother’s collecting hobbies. He started his own collection of words beginning with simple words he knew and growing to new words that expanded his vocabulary. As the book progresses, his brothers not only join in creating a story, but also start sharing their collections and creating their own stories. Family Reading Suggestions This book lends itself to family reading with multiple-aged children. Snuggle up on the sofa or in bed to enjoy this one with everyone. Before you read the book for the first time, you may want to do a “picture walk” with your children to get an idea about the story. Look at the words that are part of the illustrations. Maybe talk about collections people in your family keep. Notice the differences in how the brothers are dressed, act, and maintain their collections. The first time you read the story, just enjoy the story time together with little interruptions. Read the story again on other days. Each time you reread the story, find new things to notice and discuss. Perhaps you will explore the illustrations together more closely as you read. Early in the story, discuss how each brother feels. Maybe discuss ways you help each other feel included in your family. The story describes how the brothers sort their coins and stamps, but not how Max separated his words. Examine the illustrations to try to identify how Max sorted his words. Talk about other ways words can be sorted. Later in the story, have your children try to match the interesting fonts of the word collection in the text to the words in the illustration. Discuss the way the numbers are illustrated when the brothers brag about the size of their collections. Notice the details in the illustrations for the story the brothers created together, both the interaction of the illustrations and the text, as well as the brothers peaking at the action on the right-hand pages. Talk about how Max was more generous with his collection than his brothers. Finally, use the last sentence in the final illustration to start your own family story. Beyond the Book • Talk about ways to sort collections of stamps, coins, words, or other items. • Explore old magazines and books for your own family word collection. • Make sentences together with word cards or your word collection. • Create fun stories together. Each person takes turns as in the story, orally or written, until the conclusion. This is a fun activity on a long car ride or while waiting for an appointment.

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