cover image Millions of Maxes

Millions of Maxes

Meg Wolitzer, illus. by Micah Player. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-32411-0

The direct prose style of Wolitzer (To Night Owl from Dogfish) makes a seamless transition to the picture book in this volume. No one has told Max, a boy with brown skin, that names go in and out of fashion—his parents call him “the one and only Max,” so why shouldn’t that be so? His sense of uniqueness evaporates one day at the playground, though, when his name is called out and two other Maxes—a Black child on skates and a white child on a scooter—also come running. “I am NOT the one and only Max,” he mourns internally. “And I never, ever was.” But playing with the other Maxes proves so much fun—the three bond over a playground-wide search for a lost object and even meet a fourth Max—that the protagonist ends the day embracing his membership in a club in which “we all have the same name, but we’re completely different.” The cheery aesthetic of Player (Paletero Man)—colors that pop, crisply rendered characters who wear their hearts on their sleeves as they run hither and yon—matches Wolitzer’s warm, knowing voice page for page, and Player’s varied digital compositions capture the visceral excitement of an action-packed day outside. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)