Maisie has the best of many worlds in her multiracial family.
A brown-skinned little girl with puffy Afro hair, Maisie begins her scrapbook with small watercolor portraits of her family in the front endpapers: Mama and Dada as children and several pictures of Maisie’s younger self. She writes that she is “the little girl who saves the world from Ananse the spider” and whose mama tells her “a bull is not a pet.” This sets the stage for the contrasts between her parents: Her dark-skinned West African dada takes her on regular flights of fancy, while her white mama keeps her grounded and safe. Despite their differences, both parents love her dearly. Dada plays a marimba, Mama plays viola, and Maisie plays maracas—this family embraces global music. The Sankofa bird and the Ghanaian Adinkra symbol Gye Nyame (“except for God”) appear in the illustrations, both of which relate to going back and fetching the past to find a way forward—a likely motivation for Dada’s African stories. In the mixed-media illustrations, the outdoor and fantasy scenes fill the pages with color and contrast with Maisie’s time indoors, where entertaining herself seems to present a slight challenge.
A quiet, positive story that opens a window into what it can look and feel like to grow up in a biracial, multinational family that’s rich in story. (Picture book. 3-6)