Title: Max's Words
Author/Illustrator: Kate Banks/Boris Kulikov
Publisher/Date: Frances Foster Books/ 2006
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Preschool and up
Themes: language, storytelling, collecting
Opening: Max's brother Benjamin collected stamps....Max's other brother, Karl, collected coins....Max wanted to collect something, but he wasn't sure what. He gave it some thought. Finally he said, "I'm going to collect words."
Synopsis: From School Library Journal: "Max's two older brothers are serious collectors: Benjamin saves stamps and Karl
keeps coins. The youngest boy decides to accumulate words. He carefully selects
them from newspapers and magazines, cutting out and sorting them by category:
colors, foods, small ones, big ones. He copies entries from the dictionary onto
pieces of paper and adds them to his mounting collection. It doesnt matter if
coins or stamps are moved around, but words can be arranged and rearranged to
create stories. Even though his siblings wont share pieces of their collections,
Max gives away words and the three boys devise a short story together."
Why I Love This Book: How incredibly creative! I love the idea of word collecting. We take our language for granted and this book creates a fun way to remember how powerful word choice can be. As Max discovers, putting words in different orders can make a big difference in meaning: "A blue crocodile ate the green iguana. The blue iguana ate the green crocodile." I also love the open ending, which certainly be used as a writing prompt: "There was a big brown dog..." The illustrations are vibrant and full of life, and the cut out words actually look like they come from magazines and newspapers. All the fonts are fun!
Max literally collects words. How great is this book for a writing lesson? Assignment: cut out words from magazines: favorites, adjectives, etc.
By arranging words, Max creates stories and his brothers join in, creating a collaborative, evolving story. Try it with your kids or students!
Lesson plan: http://www.roundrockisd.org/docs/9-max_swords.pdf
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