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Cover image for Max cleans up
Max cleans up


Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Series title(s):
Max's big sister Ruby is determined to help him clean up his messy room, but he keeps rescuing things that she wants to throw away.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.6 0.5 45148.

AR 2.6 0.5.


Call Number
J Gray (Wells)

On Order



Max's room is a mess. There is sand from his toy dump truck, a swarm of escaped ant farm ants, a rotten Easter egg, and a stray piece of gum-on-a-string. It's definitely time to clean up. Max's always-efficient sister, Ruby, is quick to take charge--and of course Max wants to help. But since Max has ideas of his own, the clean up doesn't turn out exactly as Ruby has planned....

Author Notes

Rosemary Wells was born in New York City on January 29, 1943. She studied at the Museum School in Boston. Without her degree, she left school at the age of 19 to get married. She began her career in publishing, working as an art editor and designer first at Allyn and Bacon and later at Macmillan Publishing.

She is an author and illustrator of over 60 books for children and young adults. Her first book was an illustrated edition of Gilbert and Sullivan's I Have a Song to Sing-O. Her other works include Martha's Birthday, The Fog Comes on Little Pig Feet, Unfortunately Harriet, Mary on Horseback, and Timothy Goes to School. She also created the characters of Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, and Yoko, which are featured in some of her books. She has won numerous awards including a Children's Book Council Award for Noisy Nora in 1974, the Edgar Allan Poe award for two young adult books, Through the Looking Glass and When No One Was Looking, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Shy Charles.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-The rabbit siblings are back, and they're just as lovable as ever. This time, Ruby is attempting to get Max to clean up his room. Instead of throwing away such things as dirt from his dump truck, ants from his ant farm, an old Easter egg, a melted Popsicle, and other gooey things, he deposits all of them in his front pocket. This, of course, leads to a messy discovery on the last page. The illustrations have more texture than those in the earlier stories; these mixed-media pictures include rubber ants, bird gravel, silver foil, and more, resulting in a new, different, and visually appealing look.-Christina F. Renaud, Attleboro Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

As Ruby goes on a cleaning spree, her younger brother, Max, surreptitiously stashes his special possessions in his overalls, including a melting Popsicle, an old Easter egg, ant farm ants, and sand. Wells's mixed-media illustrations feature the familiar rabbit siblings but aren't well integrated with the text. From HORN BOOK Fall 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Corduroy’s pocket has nothing on Max’s. While sainted big sister Ruby scurries busily about restoring order to his gloriously cluttered room, Max surreptitiously rescues treasures from the trash, including the dirt from his Power City Rocker Crusher dump truck, an open tube of “Miracle Bubbles,” ants escaped from the ant farm, an ancient Easter egg, and a half-melted Popsicle. Wells hasn’t changed her stumpy sibs, aside from making them even bigger and more portly, but here she places them amidst low relief collages constructed from, among other media, paper, feathers, gravel, rubber ants, and large, brightly colored blobs of—something. The effect isn’t entirely successful; though everything bursts from Max’s bulging pocket in a grand climactic spill, it hasn’t mixed or smeared together at all, making a mess that is, paradoxically, very clean-looking. Still, it’s a good try, as droll as ever, and sure to draw plenty of giggles from the burgeoning Max and Ruby fan club. (Picture book. 3-5)

Booklist Review

Ages 3^-8. Big sister Ruby is helping Max clean his room. Of course, Max is not being much help in conventional terms, but in his own way he does contribute. Into the front pocket of Max's overalls go pebbles and sand from his Power City Rocker Crusher dump truck, a few ants from his ant farm, his melting Popsicle, and well, you get the idea. Like all Max and Ruby books, this one does not disappoint. It's often hard for parents to find the humor in a child's messiness, but Wells reminds us that it's essential to try. Ruby says to Max, "There is a place for everything and everything is in its place." But how Max responds to that stock phrase is just one of the things that makes this book special. --Kathy Broderick