CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 21. . . .February 4, 2011.
Dominique Demers. Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. Translated by Sheila Fischman.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Andrea Galbraith.
Reviewed from f&g’s.
One stormy night when the winds were strong, a young prince knocked on the door. The little girl showed him in. She fixed some fragrant tea and half-moon shaped slices of bread-and-jam to comfort him. The prince thought the little girl was so perfect he wanted to marry her.
A little girl lives alone in a forest with her little bird for company. She is waiting for someone. She doesn't know who he is, but she is confident that she will know him when he arrives. Her quest is inner rather than outer, her journey is to wait and to confidently repel the ill-intentioned intruders who try to take her or take from her. After facing down thieves, a wolf, a prince, and a witch, on a stirring spring day she feels that her wait is over, and she finally welcomes her soul mate to her home.
In this modern fairy tale, the power of traditional evil archetypes is removed by a young girl's inner confidence in herself, her value and her destiny. Her constancy and faith immunize her from danger, and she succeeds on her inner journey without the aid of magic, physical strength or other special powers or knowledge.
The girl has no history, no age, no family, and this creates a feeling of thinness to the story. However, the beautiful, warm illustrations greatly add to the text. Glowing full and double page watercolour washes are filled with oil, gouache and pencil illustrations of the girl and other characters from a variety of perspectives. The girl has an ageless look and far-seeing expression. It is easy to believe that she has the courage to “stop growing”, to remain authentic and repel the aspects of the outside world that are unacceptable to her.
For young readers lacking a wide knowledge of folklore, Today, Maybe is enjoyable as a simple, easy-to-follow tale of a likeable character triumphing over nasty beings. It is a modern fairy tale about the empowerment of a child, and by referencing many symbols and figures from this tradition, is of interest to a wide audience.
Andrea Galbraith is a librarian, writer, and parent living in Vancouver, BC.
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