cover image Max's Christmas

Max's Christmas

Rosemary Wells. Dial Books for Young Readers, $12.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0289-9

Glad tidings for Max fansthe bunny of board-book fame now stars in his first picture book. Sister Ruby has to drag Max up the steps, scrub his face with a washcloth and remind him to ""Spit, Max,'' as he brushes his teeth. It's Christmas Eve, and Max has a lot of questions about Santa Clausquestions Ruby answers with a ``Because!'' Not satisfied, the curious bunny sneaks downstairs to wait for the man in red. A bunny-angel at the top of the tree looks on as Santa himself answers some of Max's questions. But he, too, resorts to a ``Because!'' Max falls asleep. The next day, Ruby has queries of her own when she finds Max on the couch with a lap full of Christmas presents. Max's main answer? ``Because!'' Young readers will want to join resoundingly in that last lineone of the adult world's most ungratifying responses. Wells's pudgy bunnies and delightfully understated story will inspire year-round cravings for candy canes and early yearnings for yule logs. (3-7)