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Author: Banks, Kate
Max and his brothers drive to Shapeville and Count Town searching for problems, and are able to use their skills in arithmetic and sleuthing to help get things ready for a rocket launch.
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/14)
School Library Journal (12/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (M) (04/15)
The Hornbook (00/03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2014 K-Gr 2—In the fourth story about Max and his two brothers, numbers and shapes take center stage instead of words. Max builds a car and tells his siblings he's off to look for problems, and soon all three are on their way to adventure. The boys prove to be quite helpful as they assist in rebuilding Shapetown after a storm and in locating the lost numbers required for a Count Town rocket launch. Kulikov's illustrations add much to the story and invite counting and simple problem solving while also demonstrating that shapes can be combined or divided to make other shapes. Max's car is pristine white, creating negative space, thus continuing the math theme, and the mayors of both towns resemble Albert Einstein and reflect the towns' names. Shapes and numbers are hidden throughout the brightly colored illustrations, offering seek-and-find games: on a cow, in the configuration of a road, a clockface. In order to get to sleep after his exciting day, Max counts sheep while lying under his patchwork quilt made up of various shapes. Young children will enjoy the familiar characters and the fact that the youngest of the three brothers is again their leader.—Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2015 Max showed his older brothers a thing or two about wordsmithery in Banks’ previous title, Max’s Words, and now the three sibs are on a road trip through Shapeville and Count Town to pursue rudimentary math concepts. The adventure starts with what looks to be an arithmetic theme, with Max adding two wheels to the pair he already has in order to make a car. One big brother keeps a tally as they count ten vehicles, and then they pause to pick up an enormous numeral lying on the roadside: a six? Or a nine? Arriving in Shapeville, they find the town square is missing, and they demonstrate to grateful townsfolk how to combine triangles to solve the problem. A kite whisks them through the constellations; they drop onto the clothesline of a woman who needs help sorting socks. Next stop, Count Town, where numbers have gone missing, but the boys track them down, happily realizing they have the missing six in their car. Then there’s a rocket countdown, a cake and ice cream party, and it’s home to bed and counting sheep by 9 p.m. This oddball ramble, which touches on but fails to explore several concepts, is illustrated with surreal scenes that border on nightmarish, particularly for youngsters who balk at the likes of clowns and jack-in-the-boxes. Even children comfortable in dreamscapes will be puzzled by how this jibes with the numeracy skills with which the work is obviously concerned. There’s no fraternal tension here to resolve, nor even product, such as the clippings collection that fuels Max’s writing in Max’s Words, to replicate. Consider Arthur Geisert’s pigs as a better choice for counting, grouping, and sorting with a dash of whimsy. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.