LIFE WITHOUT NICO by Andrea Maturana
Kirkus Star

LIFE WITHOUT NICO

Age Range: 4 - 8
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this Mexican import, Maia and Nico giggle through endlessly interwoven days of best-friend bliss, until Nico moves, and "a hole appears in Maia's life."

Before, Maia had Nico. Now, she has a hole: round, dark, benign, but quite weighty. It sits next to her, occupying a chair. It changes shape, ballooning with her blues. It grows lighter gray at times, but it's always with her, sometimes even covering her little heart. "Sometimes the days feel dark to Maia. Other times everything feels far away." Empathy brims on the pages of this artful and articulate book about overwhelming feeling. The ecstatic joy found in the mutuality of effortless friendship surfaces tenderly on the very first pages, where both Maia and Nico beam, and objects in the room (a dresser, a teddy) appear as transparent as the unfiltered feelings shared by the children. The hollow numbness that arises (and lingers) with loss couldn’t be better represented than by Olea’s unobtrusive, obstinate hole, which trails Maia even as she begins to discover new interests (the piano) and friends (a kitten, a girl schoolmate). Earth tones and cool sea greens and blues balance and support one another throughout these painterly illustrations, appropriate enough in a friendship story.

Nico’s return provides both Maia and listeners an opportunity to consider how holes not only signify absence, but also keep room for the people who edify our lives. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-77138-611-1
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2016




BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2016 ABOUT FRIENDS & COMMUNITY:

ChildrenMAYBE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL by F. Isabel Campoy
by F. Isabel Campoy
ChildrenTHE NIGHT GARDENER by Terry Fan
by Terry Fan
ChildrenNOBODY LIKES A GOBLIN by Ben Hatke
by Ben Hatke
ChildrenLOOK UP! by Jung Jin-Ho
by Jung Jin-Ho

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenA HOME FOR BIRD by Philip C. Stead
by Philip C. Stead
ChildrenDAYTIME VISIONS by Isol
by Isol
ChildrenSEE YOU LATER, AMIGO!  by Peter Laufer
by Peter Laufer