Friday, March 30, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

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:

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  1. This is a very cool idea for a book! I am going to see if our library has this book. I'm going to try your activity too!

  2. Wow, I love the idea of a PB that ends with a writing prompt! I'd never heard of this book, so thanks for sharing.

  3. Sounds like a great introduction for future poets, collecting words. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sounds like a fun activity. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Lovely book, and great activity! Max is awesome. My nephew was a Max. True story! I gotta have this book and then send it to him. (He's a doctor now) :-)

  6. Oh, yes, I LOVE this book too! I've checked it out from the library more than once. Such a treasure!

  7. What a great find and share. I love the ending. It alone is an activity. Must find this one for my granddaughter.

  8. Wow, this book looks really different from anything I've seen before. I work really hard to encourage creative writing in my kids and this looks like a perfect help for that. Thank you!

  9. What a great idea for a book! I think we would have a lot of fun with a word collection here. Thank you for sharing this one!

  10. Wow. What an amazing book! I love the creativity of arranging and rearranging words. Go Max!
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  11. This sounds really wonderful. I will have to let my teacher friends know about it. They would love it for language arts activities. By the way...I liked your suggestions for activities.

  12. Ah, my kind of collector and appears to be the right age range for my son.

  13. This is a great book. I try and read it to my class each year.

    Grade ONEderful

  14. This book sounds like fun, Laura. Max and I are somewhat similar. Max collects words, and I love quotes. I try to look for quotes every chance I get, especially when I plan to incorporate them in some of my reviews. Thank you for the suggested activity!