On his thrilling carriage ride, Max goes down a hill, over a bump, up in the air, and back into his carriage that stops in a huge pile of leaves! Rosemary Wells's original four Max Board Books, published in 1979 by Dial and followed by an additional four in 1985, were the first high-quality board books in the U.S. and became immediate classics. Total sales of the eight books were over 1.2 million! But more important, they have been loved by millions of children. For the next generation Rosemary Wells has now completely re-illustrated all eight delightful Max books in her bold, new full-color style. These wonderful stories with real characters are funnier than ever. They are terrific first books, especially with the increased focus on the importance of reading to babies and toddlers, a cause that Mrs. Wells has been wholeheartedly promoting for several years with her The Most Important 20 Minutes of Your Day reading program and now the Prescription for Reading Initiative.
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PreSAMax is back, or at least retooled for the 21st century. Max's Ride and Max's Toys first appeared in 1979, while Max's Bath and Max's Bedtime both have a 1985 copyright. The texts for the most part read the same. The typeface has been changed from sans serif to serif. In Max's Ride, the concept words are now designed to reflect their meaning. So "down" now moves down the page and "under" dips under the line of text. Max's errant baby carriage hits a bump rather than a clothes basket. As for the illustrations, those bouncing baby bunny buns seem to have slipped south. Max is more of a dumpy pyramid shape with enormous feet and a softer contour line. The books are a bit larger and the color palette a tad lighter. Some of the facial expressions seem to give a different emotional emphasis. Purists may feel even Wells can't do better than the originals and shouldn't try. Still, more Max is better than less and Wells's special brand of deadpan humor is always welcome.AJudith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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