cover image Max in Hollywood, Baby

Max in Hollywood, Baby

Maira Kalman, Maira Kalman's Max. Viking Children's Books, $17.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84479-1

Ordinarily, a dog's life isn't characterized by glamour, but Max Stravinsky, canine extraordinaire, runs with the in-crowd. Max, last sighted among the poodles and bulldogs of gay Paree in Ooh-la-la (Max in Love) , here continues his postmodern, exceedingly quirky adventures. This time he's in Tinseltown to pen a ``sugar-smackin, rootin-tootin, high-spy, sci-fi . . . madcap musical mystery'' script, and he gets star treatment--even coasting around in a limo chauffeured by the fabulously suave Ferrrnando stet Extra Debonnaire. Kalman takes artistic risks even beyond those of her earlier titles, freewheelingly experimenting with different styles, sizes and colors of type, and sometimes substituting cleverly manipulated chunks of text for illustrations. However, the romance and wonderment are absent, replaced by all-out hipness; Kalman doesn't attain the high standards she set in Ooh-la-la . Her oddball wit remains--who else would correlate ``Film noir, Mel Blanc''--and Max is still cult-hero material, but this book will ultimately amuse adults more than kids. All ages. (Oct.)