Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Maia and What Matters by Tine Mortier and Kaatje Vermeire

When I pulled this book out of the courier bag, the visual impact was like being given a bouquet of flowers, from cover to cover this book is a delight, it radiates a warmth that pulls you in and coupled with the heartfelt story it tells, it can`t fail to please its reader.
Published by Book Island and translated by David Colmer, the story is that of a young girl and her relationship with her Grandma and to a lesser extent her Grandpa and travels from Maia`s birth and growth into a childhood peppered with those simple experiences that build a lifetime of memories.
Maia`s grandparents have health issues and the crux of the book is centred around these, how they impact on Maia being the strongest theme and how a young girl handles them. It is here in particular that this book shines, the realism is a strength, no mucking about with wishy washy sentiment, just real reactions to real situations, anyone who has had anything to do with children will relate to Maia`s emotional and physical reactions to situations that adults may find difficult to handle but that children handle with an almost practical response.
The illustrations by Kaatje Vermeire reflect the text in a manner that I have rarely encountered, they are perfect and what words don`t say, these illustrations do, they bring a depth of emotion that children will be able to see and talk about with the adult reading to them and in a win win situation, any adult reading this book to a child/children will experience the pleasure of a rich and rewarding reading experience.
I read this book to my Reading Group, comprised of 7 year olds and they loved it, especially the illustrations and we had a very interesting discussion and the children shared Grandparent experiences with the group. It is I feel one of the best books I have read to the group this year and I read to them 4 days a week, we soak up a good book.
This book would make a wonderful gift  for any child aged 7 and up, maybe more for girls than boys but that's just my perception.

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