Review of Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey
by Erin Entrada Kelly; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Greenwillow    160 pp.    g
5/21    978-0-06-297042-8    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-06-297044-2    $8.99

Kelly (Newbery medalist for Hello, Universe, rev. 3/17, and honoree for We Dream of Space, rev. 5/20) reaches out to a younger audience in an approachable chapter book about thoughtful worrier Marisol. Marisol has what everyone describes as the perfect climbing tree in her Louisiana backyard, but the list of things she fears is long, and the magnolia tree she’s named Peppina (after a Mary Pickford character — she’s a silent movie buff) is at the top of the list. She can’t imagine giving a book report without quaking, or visiting her extended family in the Philippines — much less what it would feel like to be brave enough to climb the tree. The story covers several days during summer vacation when Marisol decides that she will, like her idol Pickford, face up to frightening things and climb Peppina. Kelly’s writing has the unhurried pace of an unscheduled summer day (Marisol and her best friend Jada spy on Marisol’s brother Oz, act out silent movies, and ride bikes around the neighborhood). The story’s tension is built from the skillful accumulation of small moments and the strong character development. Frequent delightfully quirky line drawings by the author add humor and personality. Give this to readers of Dominguez’s Stella Diaz Has Something to Say (rev. 5/18) and Henkes’s Billy Miller books (rev. 9/13 and 3/21).

From the May/June 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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