Max doesn't much feel like talking, so he lets his drumsticks (two twigs, actually) respond to questions and imitate the sounds of his city neighborhood--pigeons startled into flight, rain tapping against a window, a train thundering down the elevated track. By linking Max's ``drums'' to activities from each previous page (for example, his grandfather is seen washing windows on one page, and in the next, Max is drumming on the cleaning bucket), Pinkney unobtrusively tugs the story forward. The fluid lines of his distinctive scratchboard illustrations fairly swirl with energy, visually translating Max's joy in creating rhythm and sound (Pinkney is well suited to the task, having been a drummer since the age of eight). A serendipitous ending finds the drummer from a passing marching band tossing a spare set of real drumsticks to the delighted Max. Ages 4-8. Children's BOMC alternate. (Feb.)
Gr 1-3-On a day when Max doesn't feel like talking to anyone, a strong breeze shakes two heavy twigs to the ground in front of his brownstone home. Picking them up, the young African-American boy begins to beat out a rhythm that imitates the sound of pigeons startled into flight. Soon he is tapping out the beat of everything around him-rain against the windows, the chiming of church bells, and the thundering sound of a train on its tracks. The snappy text reverberates with the rhythmic song of the city, and Pinkney's swirling, scratchboard-oil paintings have a music of their own. This is an effective depiction of the way in which self-expression takes on momentum, as Max's quiet introspection turns into an exuberant celebration of the world around him.-Anna DeWind, Milwaukee Public Library
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