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Both stories reference Max's persecution and his friendship with Liesel. "The Standover Man" is a more heavily illustrated story that Max gives to Liesel as Liesel is still just starting to read. The story is an early affirmation of their friendship. By contrast, "The Word Shaker" contains more text, and the political message is more serious and explicit. Max thinks Liesel might be too old for the allegory, but nevertheless does not want to frighten her with his caustic depiction of Hitler hypnotizing her entire country.