Cover image for Musical Max
Musical Max
Kraus, Robert, 1925-2001.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, [1990]

The peace and quiet following Max's decision to put his instruments away drives the neighbors just as crazy as his constant practicing did.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.3 0.5 6496.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



The peace and quiet following Max's decision to put his instruments away drives the neighbors just as crazy as his constant practicing did.

Author Notes

Robert Kraus was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 21, 1925. When he was 10-years-old, he won a cartoon contest staged by the Milwaukee Journal. He received a plaque and had his cartoon printed in the paper. Two years later, the newspaper hired him to produce a weekly cartoon called Public Nuisances. By the time he was 16-years-old, he was selling cartoons to magazines like Esquire and the Saturday Evening Post. He studied at Milwaukee's Layton Art School and the Art Students' League in New York.

After selling a few cartoons to The New Yorker, he was hired by the magazine as a contract artist. He worked there for 15 years and created 21 covers. While there, he started writing and illustrating children's books. His books included All the Mice Came, Leo the Late Bloomer, and Whose Mouse Are You? He left The New Yorker in 1966 and founded Windmill Books. Within a year, the house had won a prestigious Caldecott Medal. After 20 years, he sold Windmill to Simon and Schuster. In 1983, he began a syndicated Sunday comic feature, called Zap! The Video Chap. He died of congestive heart failure on August 7, 2001 at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3-5. The talented trio of Kraus, Aruego, and Dewey still have plenty of zing, but their familiar hero--the animal child who eventually comes into his own--is getting a little tired. In this story, it is Max, the musical hippo, who can play every instrument--and does, much to the neighbors' consternation. Only Max's mom is a real fan, and only she is disappointed when Max decides he's not in the mood to play anymore. Seasons pass. Max is silent. At first, the neighbors revel in the quiet; then it starts to bother them. They want musical Max back. But not until Max hears a bird chirp does he get in the mood to play again--and this time the neighbors all join in. The story should hold kids' attention, though just why the neighbors miss Max's music is never really explained. The artwork, however, is pure energy: a host of amusing animals drawn in clear, cool colors cavort over frenzied two-page spreads. As with other books by this team, a good story-hour choice. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

The talented trio responsible for Leo the Late Bloomer and Boris Bad Enough here introduce Max, a bright blue hippo with prodigious musical talent. Max plays every variety of instrument, including the synthesizer; and though his parents make the best of the incessant racket by donning earmuffs , the less creative neighbors ``can't stand the noise.'' For a while the buoyant Max continues to practice undaunted by these concerns, but suddenly he boxes up his instruments, saying, ``I'm not in the mood anymore.'' The neighborhood grows quiet as Max tries different activities, but something seems to be missing. A silent autumn gives way to a quieter winter, and everyone wonders when Max will be moved to play again. One spring day, Max is inspired by a bird's song; the entire music-starved neighborhood helps him unpack his instruments and joins in to form a full orchestra. In this tender and appealing story, vibrant illustrations feature a wonderfully chunky, distinctive cast capable of conveying a complex repertoire of expressions. Ages 3-6. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-- Another charmer from the creators of Leo, Milton, Boris, Owliver, and other memorable characters. Max is a wonderfully lumpish hippopotamus, musically talented from his mother's side. He plays every instrument imaginable while the neighbors (and his father) long for quiet. When Max's mood changes and he becomes involved with sports instead, the neighborhood discovers that all that peace is driving them crazy. Kraus provides a typically upbeat ending, and Aruego and Dewey's amusing and colorful drawings, instantly recognizable, will not disappoint their old fans. This team's crowd of appreciative preschoolers can only grow. --Ann Stell, The Smithtown Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.