Belgium Writer & Illustrator
Tine Mortier, illustrated by Kaatje Vermeire
Maia and What Matters
Book Island 2013 $29.99hb 28pp
ISBN 978 0 9876 6966 7
Themes: Friendship/ Grandparents/ Lies/ Perseverance/ Strokes
I am posting this review on the last day of the week long Meet Maia Book Tour and what a hard thing that is to do. So many of the good things about the book have already been said so I will have to hope that there are some people reading this who have not been following the tour as I set the scene. Maia had always been impatient right from the moment she was born, there in a wicker chair under a cherry tree. Her first word was a demand - ‘cake’. We don’t hear all that much about Maia’s mother but as she was too engrossed in her book to move from her seat in the cherry orchard just as Maia was being born, it is not all that surprising. Maia’s best friend, companion and partner in ‘crime’ is her grandmother who also loves cake, exploring the wonderful garden and swinging up to the sky. They are best friends. Then one day Grandma has a stroke and shortly after this Grandpa dies. Although she no longer can communicate with the adults, Grandma makes it known to Maia she wants to see Grandpa and to touch his hair once more. Impossible say the adults but never underestimate the power of a determined and impatient little girl. We see they have made it to Grandpa’s side as shown in perhaps one of the most poignant illustrations in the whole book.
I can’t say enough good things about this production from the brave and non-sentimental story it tells to the amazing images covering each generous page which not only reflect what is happening but takes the reader beyond the story to explore more ideas. This is a story about the lies adults tell children probably hoping to protect them from hurt and about the resilience of children and the ways they cope and find the truth. There will be adults who feel this is not a topic for a children’s picture book but hopefully they will be few. I shared the story and the pictures with a six-year-old last weekend and the experience was all positive!
In my opinion this is a truly beautiful book.
Year 1/ Age 5 up