Max’s Words

Words are pretty important to humans. Not so much to canines. Dogs usually pay more attention to a tone of voice than to actual words. I like words. At least I like to hear words spoken by humans. It’s really more about the sound than the actual word. I have some particular favorites — treat, French Fries, ball, river, YES!, find it, library, kids, Dr Bruton, Ms Brandt, Good Girl! And there are some words that I don’t like to hear — No!, leave it, no more, go lay down, that’s enough, off, not today. There are a lot of words that I like the sound of when I hear them spoken, but I don’t know what they mean.


Mrs Brandt, my favorite reading teacher who always has banana chips and the best pillows, has a great book called Max’s Words about a boy who collects words.

Max’s Words is written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Boris Kulikov. Now that’s a nice sounding name!

Max’s Words was published in 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

It is suitable for Pre-K through 3rd grade or so —

Theme – words, writing

IMG_3705Opening — “Max’s brother Benjamin collected stamps.”

Max has a brother who has a fabulous stamp collection that everyone admires. And he has another brother with a coin collection that everyone admires. Max wants a collection for himself and decides to collect words. He starts with simple words that he cuts out of magazines and newspapers. His collection grows and grows and he starts sorting them in different orders. Then he discovers that when he puts his words together in different ways, they become a thought. And those words and thoughts can be strung together to create a story! Now his brothers get interested in Max’s word collection and they all end up working together to create a magical story.

IMG_3706The illustrations in this book are as fabulous as the words. They build on what the words are saying and make those words come alive.

This is a most fabulous book all around!!!

Following in Max’s footsteps would be a fun thing to do with a class. Let them start their own word collection. (Or you might give them a whole bunch of already cut out words). Then see what kind of stories they can create. Some magazines and some scissors can make magic happen!

A favorite game at my house is the Dictionary Game. One person looks up a word in the dictionary and says the word to the other players. Then those players write down what they think the word means. The word person collects all the definitions along with the real one that he has written down and reads each one out loud. The other players pick the one that they think is the real definition. If you get it right you get a point. If you wrote a definition that fools the others you get a point.

When we’re in a classroom, sometimes we play another dictionary game where everyone has a dictionary. The Mom Person says a word and the 1st one to find it wins a point.

Now here is a little bit of connected trivia. I love connections. I recently did a post about a book written by Charlotte Zolotow. There is a book award named after Ms Zolotow. Another book written by Ms Banks, the Night Worker, won the Charlotte Zolotow Award!

This is Perfect Picture Book Friday and if you would like to find a great list of books and resources to use in you classroom or at home, you should visit Susanna Leonard Hill at her blog HERE.

Here’s a video about a DOG who collects words! —

And if you would like the longer NOVA version  —

IMG_5511I’m working on my collection! How about you? Any favorite words? Do you have enough words for a story?

Happy Hunting —
Copy of img311

39 thoughts on “Max’s Words

  1. This is most impressing! What a great post, dear Rhythm. I collect words and phrases. I love the great German words, for instance, like Weltschmerz, Wanderlust…
    The first video doesn’t open for me in England, but the second does so I’ll enjoy that one tomorrow. Now I have to prepare supper for friends coming around.
    Have a great weekend. Love, Dina Xx

    • I don’t know about that — I know we get tons of catalogs around here that the Mom Person likes to shop in. And there are tons of magazines at the library, so they’re still out there. also newspapers. And you could just have the kids go through the dictionary and find words they like and write them down. Words are everywhere!!

  2. I love the sounds that some words make – and playing with words too Rhythm. Max’s Words sounds like a great book. I would like my students to collect words. The book reminded me of a couple others that I enjoy – The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni and Martha Speaks (I thin you will really like that one).

  3. Love the Zolotow connection. I know Kate Banks personally. She is not only a gifted author, but a fascinating woman. I have reviewed many of her books and am very fond of this one.

    • That’s cool that you know her! I think she must be a fascinating lady to write a book like this. I read that she lives in France, and I think I remember that you lived there as well. You must know her from there? She and Mr Kulikov make a super team! I’ve picked out some of her other books to put on my wish list.

  4. I have never heard of this story, Rhythm, so I really appreciate you sharing it! It looks like a super cool book…one that will encourage kids to want to play with words. Thanks for a great review.:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s