Review of Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey
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The Children’s Book Review
What to Expect: Fears, Friendship, Family, and Summer
Adding illustrator to her resume, Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey is Newbery Medalist and New York Times–bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly’s debut illustrated chapter book. Eight-year-old Marisol Rainey is an endearing new character with an active imagination that, in her first story, offers readers a charming depiction of conquering fears.
In Marisol’s backyard, there is a magnolia tree perfect for climbing. Marisol has named the tree Peppina. (Almost everything in Marisol’s life is given a name because she believes all important things should have their own name.) The tree also offers a shield of leaves to hide in and stay cool from the hot Louisiana summer sun. Everyone loves the tree, including Marisol’s older brother Oz and her best friend, Jada George. Marisol does not feel the same way. If only she could build the courage to climb the tree and discover the wonders hidden within its branches. Marisol has so many fears, but her greatest one is falling. Maybe she’ll climb the tree. Maybe!
There is so much to love about this book. The black and white illustrations that are scattered throughout perfectly punctuate Kelly’s humor and bring Marisol’s busy brain clearly into view for the reader. The writing is intelligent and funny, with splashes of philosophical insight.
Each character is believable, relatable, and likable except for the annoying Evie, who, by Kelly’s design, sparks intrigue. Jada George is a kind, thoughtful best friend. Marisol’s relationship with her is a beautiful depiction of what a healthy friendship can look like. Mrs. Rainey, who was born in the Philippines, is a smart, engaging, supportive mom. Mr. Rainey works on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and is only home one week a month, but even he manages to pack a punch with the dad jokes. There is also a strong sense of season with descriptions of hot summer days and carefree bike rides with friends.
Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey is an incredible story that beautifully demonstrates the importance of personal growth and the value of a solid friendship. Young readers will eagerly await upcoming books to learn more about Marisol and the diverse cast of characters—diverse in heritage and persona—that we’ve met so far. Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey is highly recommended!
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About the Author
New York Times–bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly was awarded the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe and a Newbery Honor for We Dream of Space. She grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and now lives in Delaware. She is a professor of children’s literature in the graduate fiction and publishing programs at Rosemont College, where she earned her MFA, and is on the faculty at Hamline University.
Her short fiction has been nominated for the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. Erin Entrada Kelly’s debut novel, Blackbird Fly, was a Kirkus Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and an Asian/Pacific American Literature Honor Book. She is also the author of The Land of Forgotten Girls, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature; You Go First, a Spring 2018 Indie Next Pick; Lalani of the Distant Sea, an Indie Next Pick; and Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey, which she also illustrated. The author’s mother was the first in her family to immigrate to the United States from the Philippines, and she now lives in Cebu.
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