Chapter three of Philbrick's Freak the Mighty is when Max and Kevin are getting to know each other better after their first awkward meeting the day before. Kevin is playing with a toy he calls an ornithopter that looks like a plane with flapping wings. It's stuck in a tree, so Max goes over to retrieve it for him. The way characters speak gives the reader insight into their personalities, and in this case, both of the characters also learn about each other from the way each boy answers the other. For example, Max usually answers questions with one or two monosyllabic words, whereas Kevin's answers are highly intellectual and multisyllabic. This shows that Kevin has more background in reading and education than Max does. Where Kevin would call his toy an ornithopter, Max would call it a plane. Another way that Kevin and Max contrast by the way they speak is that Kevin calls Max names such as "earthling" and "it." Max, on the other hand, responds with "that's cool" or "over there" (13-14).
One way that Kevin and Max compare with the way they communicate is that they both also resort to showing the other what they mean when there is a misunderstanding. For instance, Kevin asks where Max lives and all Max can say is, "Over there." Kevin doesn't understand, so Max decides to pick him up and take him over to his house. He then takes Kevin down to the basement where his bedroom is, and Kevin falls in love with the set-up. Later on, when Kevin realizes that Max doesn't understand his big words, he shows Max how to use a dictionary and how to think about reading and writing differently. Fortunately, even though Max and Kevin would be unlikely to communicate because of the educational differences between them, both are able to show or teach the other what he means for complete understanding.