Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Maia and What Matters


We all know that sometimes we do judge a book by it's cover, and I certainly did with Maia and What Matters. Definitely a book I'd never heard of, but I did just have to read it as soon as I saw it. I saw Maia in a daily email that I get from fishpond.com.au full of tempting treats. Actually I get one from fishpond.co.nz as well. Most days I manage to resist their tempting offers to fill my house with even more books. But some days I just can't resist, and my resolve falters. This day I fell in love with this cover, and so I ordered it then and there. Fishpond do actually have fabulous one-click ordering (it's much too easy) and great service.

I'm so glad I did. For many reasons. The gorgeous cover for a start of course. Also because Maia and What Matters is a book in translation. I do especially enjoy picture books in translation, they have such a different sensibility and feel to our Anglophone creations. They're often amazing books, and really stay with you. Books like The Scar, or Feeling Sad.

Maia and What Matters is an astonishingly beautiful book, from Belgium via New Zealand. Written by Belgian author Tine Mortier and masterfully illustrated by Kaatje Vermeire Maia and What Matters was translated into English by David Colmer, an Australian translator who lives in Amsterdam (since I have been musing on bringing the translator out of the darkness and into the light recently) and published by a new Kiwi publisher Book Island. Book Island is based on the beautiful Kapiti Coast of the North Island of New Zealand and publishes translated children's books- primarily from Dutch it seems, here with assistance by the Flemish Literature Fund.

Maia is an impulsive little sprite- born under a cherry tree in quite a rush.




She has a special bond with her Grandma. They both love cake. It seems cake is one of the things that matters. As is Grandma.


Maia has moments of unadulterated pleasure and joie de vivre, and moments of devastating sadness when her beloved Grandma falls ill and her family is changed forever.


The illustrations are breathtaking. Even the endpapers are special.

Paris patisserie wrappers!
The only things I would like to have seen would be an author profile and illustrators note at the end. I look forward to finding more fascinating books from Book Island. When I can stop flipping through this delightful book I think I'll give it to my favourite primary school library where I'm sure it will be well loved too.

1 comment:

Brona Joy said...

Wow - those illustrations! Heavenly.
This is new to me too - well spotted (and reviewed).