Artistic differences of opinion can occasion utterly new creations—or utter disasters. The exploration of what makes art brings two very dissimilar personalities into conflict, with hilarious and then near fatal results. It’s a gentle poke at folks who take art too seriously and those who don’t.

“Art & Max” shows children that artistic license, i.e., coloring outside the lines, needn’t be frowned upon yet it also cautions against simply letting your ideas run away from you (mess isn’t art, kids, when all it means is you didn’t clean your room). Each page brims with Mr. Wiesner’s exquisite use of color and expression. It contains more words than other books of his (including “Mr. Wuffles”) but it’s undeniably a Wiesner creation, with the eccentric and the mundane effortlessly posed in juxtaposition to each other, as only a true artist can manage.

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