cover image Musical Max

Musical Max

Robert Kraus. Simon & Schuster, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-671-68681-9

The talented trio responsible for Leo the Late Bloomer and Boris Bad Enough here introduce Max, a bright blue hippo with prodigious musical talent. Max plays every variety of instrument, including the synthesizer; and though his parents make the best of the incessant racket by donning earmuffs , the less creative neighbors ``can't stand the noise.'' For a while the buoyant Max continues to practice undaunted by these concerns, but suddenly he boxes up his instruments, saying, ``I'm not in the mood anymore.'' The neighborhood grows quiet as Max tries different activities, but something seems to be missing. A silent autumn gives way to a quieter winter, and everyone wonders when Max will be moved to play again. One spring day, Max is inspired by a bird's song; the entire music-starved neighborhood helps him unpack his instruments and joins in to form a full orchestra. In this tender and appealing story, vibrant illustrations feature a wonderfully chunky, distinctive cast capable of conveying a complex repertoire of expressions. Ages 3-6. (Aug.)