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)