Maisie Moo doesn’t want to be an angel – and certainly not in the Venice Christmas concert; she would much rather play the drums or be the donkey. Life has its drawbacks when you live in a palace in the middle of nowhere. Especially if it’s a shop, called The Gone Bonkers Discount Palace, that mainly sells gondolas; and your Dad drives a truck and isn’t home much.
It helps, though, to have an invisible friend called Lucy, even if she gets you into trouble with Mum from time to time: like objecting to sweeping the floor of The Gone Bonkers Discount Palace. Kicking a box of gondolas, and having them scatter like stars, is bound to make Mum go nuts!
Chris McKimmie’s inimitable capacity to marry text with illustration, producing a work that captures both a child’s and adult reader’s imagination, shines through in this cleverly crafted book. McKimmie’s sense of the ridiculous laughs all over the page in his depiction of all things Venice in the middle of outback Australia. Maisy Moo and Invisible Lucy is suffused with delightful humour and light-heartedness; it brings the reader close-up to the special relationship between father and daughter, made all the more poignant in light of the father’s truck-driving occupation.
This is a book that invites the reader back for a second look. There is a naivety in McKimmie’s ‘Dylan and Blake’ font and child-like illustrations that attracts the attention of the young reader who is bound to discover new detail in each subsequent reading.
Maisy Moo and Invisible Lucy would be suitable for children aged about five to ten. It is a wonderful springboard for discussion about invisible friends. This topic opens the possibility of delving richly into the world of the imagination through art, drama, music, and writing (stories, poems, journals, letters). Similarly, the issues of father/daughter relationships or parent absence can be explored. Children can also list and work with their favourite and least favourite colours, letters, pets and past-times.
Maisy Moo and Invisible Lucy is not a picture story book for the faint-hearted. Be warned. If you don’t believe in invisible friends, have trouble reading sideways, and don’t approve of wild excursions into the world of the nonsensical, then this book is not for you: especially if you don’t like the word ‘bum’.