Tine Mortier harnesses the strong, feisty young character of Maia in few words. In fact, she sums up the essence of Maia’s personality in one of the best openings to a picture book I’ve come across.
Maia is determined, strong, and full of adoration for her Grandma. The two of them spend their days running round the cherry tree, eating cakes and laughing.
Pretty good, eh?
Until. One day. They don’t.
Maia’s confusion during her Grandma’s recovery from the sudden illness is touching. Tine Mortier’s ability to capture this so eloquently and so honestly, without drama and over simplification, is … beautiful.
‘What’s going on? Why is everything so hard all of a sudden?’
Maia’s determined character shines through. She insists on decorating her Grandma’s hospital bed, and becomes convinced she really is the only one who understands her.
‘Maia knew exactly what Grandma was saying. She read it in her eyes and picked the letters out of Grandma’s mouth. Very carefully.’
Tine Mortier’s narrative is gentle yet bold, as it explores Maia’s relationship with her Grandma, their strong bond and their love of cake!
Mortier navigates this topic without being over sentimental, but with a savvy understanding of a young girl’s thought process.
Kaatje Vermeire’s illustrations (The Big Question) provide great depth to the emotions Maia experiences, and celebrates the wonderful relationship with her Grandma. They bound from the page and are a true highlight.
This is a fabulous book for exploring thoughts and ideas re Grandparents, it’s a great one for encouraging discussion.
Please share with all carers you think will benefit from Maia and What Matters.