Published August 9th 2016 by Dial Books
Format read: Finished copy via publicist
Paula and Maggie have been friends forever. Paula thinks Maggie is the best—until mean girl Veronica says otherwise. Suddenly, Paula starts to notice that Maggie is big and clumsy, and her clothes are sort of snuggish. Rather than sticking up for Maggie, Paula ignores her old friend and plays with Veronica instead. Luckily, when Veronica turns on Paula, Maggie’s true colors shine through.
This moving friendship story has all the heart and emotion of The Giving Tree and Kevin Henkes's Chrysanthemum. The gorgeous artwork and important message make this a book to treasure. It’s truly a classic in the making.
Harrison introduces us to Paula and Maggie, a beaver and an elephant who have been best friends since childhood. But when mean terrier Veronica begins bullying Maggie and picking on her size, Paula lets herself get influenced by Veronica's words and begins to reevaluate their friendship...
There are so many things to appreciate about ...Maggie, beginning with Harrison's tacit acknowledgement that childhood friendships are often built on innocent foundations. There's a genuine love there, which can unfortunately be sullied by those with cruel intentions - as Paula and the reader soon realize, when she begins doubting and separating herself from Maggie.
But rather than prolong the estrangement, Harrison is quick to emphasize that bullies can swiftly change the focus of their attacks. When Paula begins the victim of Victoria's bullying, Harrison beautifully emphasizes that it's true bravery that leads Maggie to jump to her rescue, despite Paula's earlier behavior.
It's a surprisingly humbling reminder that sometimes, one's friends can help us become even better versions of ourselves, and readers will finish the book content with the knowledge that Maggie and Paula are back to being friends, and have likely learned from this situation.
Outside of Harrison's words, the story is absolutely brought to life by her bright color palette and her choice of acrylic to emphasize the emotions of the tale.
Bottom line: Between the heartwarming message and the gorgeous illustrations, this is an important book for readers of all ages. I'm confident that Harrison's book will find a home on shelves in schools and homes alike.
Highly recommend, full stop.
About the author:
Hannah E. Harrison is an award-winning painter, specializing in animal subjects, and this is her third picture book. She majored in Art and minored in Creative Writing at Colby College in the pursuit of becoming a children’s book author/illustrator. Hannah lives in Oklahoma with her husband and daughters.