Book of the Week: Max Found Two Sticks

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom and I include a few mini-lesson ideas. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Max Found Two Sticks, by Brian Pinkney

Brian Pinkney, like his father, the legendary Jerry Pinkney, has illustrated a ton of books. We have several in our school library if you’re interested in setting up an author study. Jojo’s Flying Side-Kick, Dear Benjamin Banneker, and Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King are all available, and if you check with our interventionists, we should have several copies of Jojo’s Flying Side-Kick from the Soar to Success program.

Holy cow, there are a ton of resources available to help students with this book. I find the choices overwhelming, quite frankly. This site has tools to help students with phonics, writing, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary. If you’re someone interested in hard copy work, plenty of blackline masters are available here.

Additionally, if you want to use this book as part of the 3rd grade Sound science kit, that could be doable. There are a few other books on music in the bookroom in the bucket labeled Fine Art, and there are a bunch of leveled readers as well. (that will be a future post)

Drum vibrations

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:


  • Recognize literary elements. The book follows a pretty traditional three-tries story structure (Max bangs on the bucket, the hat boxes, the garbage can, and then receives the marching band drummer’s sticks). Talk about why so many stories, particularly traditional folk/fairy tales follow this pattern. This is a good place to start if you want to explore patterns in literature. Here are the 36 dramatic plots identified by Georges Polti.
  • Compare and contrast within and between text. Use this strategy in conjunction with the one explained above!

Expand vocabulary.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!