I have a keen Maisy fan in residence and I quite like Maisy, too. Lucy Cousins’ illustration style is charming and through the last few years I got a lot of relief in both of my sons liking Maisy and Peppa Pig more than, say, Barney or The Wiggles. It meant I wasn’t cringing at story and DVD time, and actually even enjoyed it. We have a wonderful Maisy book which is Maisy’s house – the covers tie together with a ribbon to create a free-standing pop-up of Maisy’s house, with a cardboard Maisy to move through the rooms – I must confess I think I played with it more than my children did!
This new book is marketed as a ‘First Science Book’ and it does achieve this at a pre-school level (3+). Through the book, your child will learn a little bit about the provenance of flowers and vegetables, some basics of how to tend to plants (watering, weeding), and the season of Spring. On each page there is a basic illustrated vocabulary – words like ‘shoots’, ‘roots’, ‘dandelion’ etc. Other books in the First Science range include: Maisy’s Wonderful Weather Book; Maisy’s Nature Trail; Maisy Bakes a Cake.
It’s a pop-up book, and for the most part the pop-ups are inventive and engaging, although a few of them seemed very stiff and needed some dexterity to get them to work – tricky for little hands! I think they would ease with repeated readings, however. My favourite pop-ups were the adorable planting seeds pages and the blooming flowers pages.
Resident-Maisy-fan Magnus enjoyed the book and made associations between the vegetable garden in the book and our own vegetable garden. Each page has playful insects and birds in the illustrations and I extended the reading of the book by getting Magnus to find the insects/birds on each page.
I enjoyed Cousins’ subtle propaganda, too. Vegetables are ‘yummy’ and on the final page Maisy is in raptures: “Oh, how beautiful all the flowers are! …. Gardening is so much fun!” A sentiment to warm the heart of all gardening parents who are hoping to pass their green thumbs onto their children.
This is a charming addition to the Maisy range and it has become a firm favourite with both Magnus and I – me as a keen gardener, and Magnus as a Maisy-devotee.
Reviewed by Helen Lehndorf and Magnus Rolfe
Maisy Grows a Garden
A Maisy First Science Book
By Lucy Cousins
Published by Walker Books