Hohn's debut children's book explores Caribbean culture as it follows Malaika on her determined path to creating her dream carnival costume.
Malaika fills with excitement when she thinks about her carnival costume and dancing with the other children. If only Mummy could fly home from Canada to witness it. With no money sent from the north, Malaika begins to lose hope that her costume will be made at all. Luckily Granny's resourcefulness and Malaika's quick thinking bring a beautiful costume to life. Highly saturated folk-art imagery captures the warmth and vibrancy of the islands. Luxbacher’s collage style lends itself to a child's perspective, depicting only what is relevant to Malaika. Doodles on lined paper in the corners and outer edges of the pages suggest that Malaika writes to her mother constantly and serve as indicators of Malaika’s moods. The Caribbean dialect rhythmically carries the story forward without losing readers not familiar with it. Hohn's story teaches readers a bit of Caribbean culture while focusing on the emotional turmoil of a child separated from her parent; the juxtaposition of a heavy, serious topic with a lighthearted, joyous cultural activity balances the mood. The story ends on a high note, with a bonus panel on the final page that parents will enjoy.
A wholly earned celebration. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-7)