Samuel Narh and Jo Loring-Fisher
Five-year-old Maisie is the narrator of this celebration of unconditional parental love. In the end papers she shows us her scrapbook: her Dada shares tales of the spider she saves the world from (aka Ananse), while her Mama tells her ‘a bull is not a pet’.
In between, the main narrative compares and contrasts the differing parenting styles of her Dada and Mama.
Steeped in folklore, the former nurtures Maisie’s flights of fancy
while her Mama endeavours to keep her grounded with games such as hide and seek, and protects her from the bull she imagines herself riding.
As the seasons pass we see examples of the all encompassing parental love this fortunate child receives – Mama’s arms surround her as she’s frightened by the bull;
Dada ‘shows her clouds painting pictures of the ancient worlds in the sky’.
Mama cooks risotto whereas Dada’s speciality is jolof rice; Mama plays a viola, Dada the marimba, but they both nag her in the same way and love her in the same way; The result of this parenting is a spirited child who appreciates what she has: two loving parents, a rich, mixed cultural heritage and a bundle of self-confidence. Above all, love is what matters most in Samuel Narh’s beautifully expressed, moving tale.
Reflecting the different heritages of her parents, there’s a wealth of cultural references in Jo Loring-Fisher’s mixed-media illustrations of Maisie’s life both in the expansive outdoors and the more confining walls of her home: the Ghanian Sankofa bird on the window-sill, the framed Gye Nyame (supreme being) symbol; the ancient buildings painted in the sky.
Positive in every respect this is a book to share, share, share again and then to talk about within the family and in school or nursery.