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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Maisie's Scrapbook, written by Samuel Narh and illustrated by Jo Loring-Fisher. Lantana Publishing, Lerner. Thomas Allen & Son. 2019. $23.99 ages 3 and up

"Mama says tomato.
Dada says aamo.
They hug her in the
same way.
She's as relentless
as spring rain.

Maisie hides behind
the shrubs.
Mama looks for her
behind the trees."

Mother's Day has come and gone, and now we can look forward to celebrating fathers in June. This is a perfect transition book, as it shows the unconditional love that parents have for their children. In this family, there are cultural differences that make Maisie's scrapbook intimate and refreshing.

Maisie is of mixed heritage - and it is a beautiful thing. Her parents may differ in customs and their responses to a variety of events, but their love for her and her spunky spirit is strong, accepting and filled with awe. The beauty found in the heritage of both is perfectly displayed in both text and visuals.

"Mama wears linen.
Dada wears kente cloth.
They praise her in the same way.
She's as bright as a summer's day."

Through the seasons, love is shown in numerous ways. The folk tales of her father's African heritage encourage her imagination and her mother's calm demeanor allays fear and sadness. She is described as:

'relentless as spring rain, as bright as a summer's day, as spirited as autumn leaves, as pure as winter's snow'

The mixed media artwork shows readers images of Maisie's parents and their many interactions with her, and includes lovely details from both cultures. No matter how different, the one sure message is that they love her 'in the same way'.  The full page spreads move from the peaceful scenes of her childhood to the brilliance of the imagination her father encourages with his stories from his West African home.

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