Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mooning about

Larky Mavis 
2001

The redheaded heroine of this folk-tale like story demonstrates her protective instincts while standing up for non-conformists and dreamers everywhere. Her tattered clothes with patches and holed toe socks perfectly illustrate the kind of carefree, ne’er do well existence that she leads.

Bold pen drawings paired with gentle washes of pastel watercolor match the tone of the rolling, lilting text. One day as Larky Mavis is “mooning about, mooning about” she finds a peanut in the road which appears to be “a little baby.” She nicknames him “Heart’s Delight.” The townspeople’s disapproval of her eccentricity grows stronger and stronger until finally Larky Mavis’s “child” is able to sprout wings and fly away like an angel, taking Larky Mavis with him to who knows where.

Interestingly, even after Larky Mavis makes her escape, the majority townspeople remain as judgmental and unimaginative as ever. One feels too, that the name “Larky Mavis” is some kind of appellation pinned on her by the townsfolk who misunderstand her. The ambiguous ending is likely create more questions than it answers. This book is a natural read-aloud. Younger children may appreciate the sensuous feeling of the words, but older children are sure to find much to discuss in the open-ended conclusion of the tale.

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