Cover image for Max found two sticks
Max found two sticks
Pinkney, J. Brian.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [1994]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Although he doesn't feel like talking, a young boy responds to questions by drumming on various objects, including a bucket, hat boxes, and garbage cans, echoing the city sounds around him.
Reading Level:
AD 690 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.8 0.5 26996.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.1 1 Quiz: 07485 Guided reading level: J.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Oversize
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



It was a day when Max didn't feel like talking to anyone. He just sat on his front steps and watched the clouds gather in the sky.
A strong breeze shook the tree in front of his house, and Max saw two heavy twigs fall to the ground.
So begins this story of a young boy's introduction to the joys of making music.
Max picks up the sticks and begins tapping out the rhythms of everything he sees and hears around him...the sound of pigeons startled into flight, of rain against the windows, of distant church bells and the rumble of a subway. And then, when a marching band rounds Max's corner, something wonderful happens.
Brian Pinkney's rhythmic text and lively pictures are certain to get many a child's foot tapping, many a youngster drumming.

Author Notes

Brian Pinkney, author and illustrator, was born August 28, 1961. He has received the Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations, three Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, and in 1997, he won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for his book, The Adventures of Sparrowboy. He has also won two Caldecott Honor awards for his illustrations with the books: The Faithful Friend, by Robert D. San Souci, and Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Pinkney primarily uses the scratchboard illustrative technique with most of his books.

Pinkney lives with his wife, Andrea, and their children in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-8. Max makes music that imitates the sounds of the city around him and the rhythms within himself. Sitting on the steps of his house, the small boy finds two sticks and taps on his thighs; then he pats on Grandfather's window-washing bucket, and it's like light rain falling on the windows. When Mother comes home from shopping, he taps on her hatboxes and on his friends' soda bottles. He imagines the sound of a marching band in the clouds. On the neighborhood garbage cans he pounds out the sound of the subway thundering down the tracks. The text is a spare, rhythmic accompaniment to Pinkney's scratchboard illustrations of oil paint and gouache, which swirl and circle through the double-page spreads, filling them with energy and movement. The small solitary boy doesn't feel like talking, but his music communicates with the world. In a great climax, a marching band--just like the one he imagined--comes sweeping around the corner and the last drummer tosses Max his spare set of sticks. "Thanks," Max calls, and he doesn't miss a beat. ~--Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

"The fluid lines of Pinkney's distinctive scratchboard illustrations fairly swirl with energy, visually translating Max's joy in creating rhythm and sound," said PW about this account of a novice drummer. Ages 5-8. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-On a day when Max doesn't feel like talking to anyone, a strong breeze shakes two heavy twigs to the ground in front of his brownstone home. Picking them up, the young African-American boy begins to beat out a rhythm that imitates the sound of pigeons startled into flight. Soon he is tapping out the beat of everything around him-rain against the windows, the chiming of church bells, and the thundering sound of a train on its tracks. The snappy text reverberates with the rhythmic song of the city, and Pinkney's swirling, scratchboard-oil paintings have a music of their own. This is an effective depiction of the way in which self-expression takes on momentum, as Max's quiet introspection turns into an exuberant celebration of the world around him.-Anna DeWind, Milwaukee Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.