Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Collector of Words

Max's big brother Benjamin has an enormous stamp collection, full of wondrous, colorful postage stamps. "May I have one?" asks Max. "No," says Benjamin.

Max's other big brother, Karl, has a huge collection of coins, in many different sizes and values, from all over the world. "May I have one?" asks Max. "No," says Karl.

Max wants to have a collection, too, but he isn't sure what to collect. Finally he decides, to his brothers' amusement, to collect words. He starts with small words, like "the," "its" and "who," cutting them out of magazines and newspapers, then moves on with larger, more interesting words like "alligator," and "hissed," and words that make him feel good, like "baseball," "dogs," and "hugs." The words spread across his desk in colorful shapes, each one illustrating the word it depicts (the H in Hugs has arms that hug each other, for example, and the word Park is cut from hedges, as seen from above, with tiny people walking around among them).

Soon Max's brothers grow interested in his collection in spite of themselves. Max can arrange his word in different ways, and they form different things (like "A blue crocodile ate the green iguana"). But when Karl and Benjamin rearrange their collections, it doesn't make much difference at all. Max can even arrange his words into a story -- a fun, exciting story that grabs his brothers' attention and soon has them participating as well.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable picture book about the wonder and versatility of language, the power of storytelling - and the ingenuity of younger siblings.

Max's Words by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (Frances Foster Books, 2006)


  1. now THAT sounds like a perfect book. not only entertaining, but introduces children to the joys of language and wordplay!

  2. I hadn't thought about it, but of course a book like that would appeal to the linguist in you, Molly!

  3. What a fun book! I think I'll track it down. Thanks for the review.

  4. You are so welcome. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as my children and I did!


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