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Additional Book Information
Series: The New York Review Children's Collection
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Max Makes a Million
by Maira Kalman
Max’s dream is to live in Paris and be a poet. But do you think it is easy for a dog to pack a small brown suitcase, put on a beret, and hop on a plane? Ha! No one will buy Max’s poems, so without money he must stay put. But living in New York City isn’t so bad. Where else could he have friends like Bruno, with his invisible paintings, or Marcello, who builds upside down houses? And where else could he drop in at Baby Henry’s Candy Shop? It’s all possible in New York, a jumping jazzy city. And for Max, it’s a dog’s life that only Maira Kalman could invent.
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The sarcastic wit, absurd non-sequiturs and eclectic diversions, not to mention the naïve drawing and painting style of this and later books, particularly appealed...Maira helped found a new genre of picture books that employed kinetic type composition as an expressive means of marrying word and image...Maira’s major protagonist, a dog named Max, became an instant classic, winning children’s hearts and book awards.
Kalman’s verbal inventiveness, her mastery of a simple yet poetic language that children can love, her inexhaustibly original illustrations, rich with women with unlikely hairdos, men with beards that reach the floor, and upside down houses, keep a child enchanted through countless readings.
—Mitch Abidor, Jewish Currents
In this unique blend of reality and fantasy, intermingled words and images seem influenced by such strange sources as Mamie Eisenhower's wardrobe, the Jazz Age and the Theatre of the Absurd. Banter that rings with sophistication is well matched by the esoteric illustrative approach readers have come to expect from Kalman. Although there is much to glean from an unhurried single reading, this fanciful creation yields its greatest treasures through repeated visits.
This whimsical extravaganza—clever and urbane—celebrates New York's wildly varied cosmopolitans while recounting how the hero, who is a dog and a poet, finally gets a publisher and will be able to realize his dream of going to Paris. Accompanied by witty illustrations that make sly references to other artists.
Every now and then, a character in literature exerts a kind of magnetic field on the reader. The force of his or her personality, speaking in a fully individualized voice, grabs us like a carnival barker and just won't let go. Holden Caulfield had that effect on a generation; Augie March came close; there have been a few others as well, but their voices aren't necessarily limited to 'grown up books.' Especially now that Max, dreamer, dog, poet, has had his say.
Maira Kalman's marvelously inventive gifts really shine in the picture-book format. I've long felt that her artwork, with its playful use of color and perspective, provides kids with a fantastic organic introduction to the manifold varieties of art.
—Lisa Pliscou, author of Dude