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85

The Maggie B.

One needs to have a comfortable 'place' in their lives.

This simple story is literary art for children at bedtime:  every child should have a 'life' on their own Maggie B.

Full Review

The Maggie B. presents, without ‘telling’, an atmosphere of delightful coziness and comfort. Just before sleep, Maggie Barnstable thought “North Star, star of the sea,/ I wish for a ship/ Named after me,/ To sail for a day/ Alone and free./ With someone nice/ For company.” She ‘wakes’ on the Maggie B. with her little brother, James.

Her boat has a vegetable garden, fruit trees, a goat, chickens, and a toucan! “Since it was her own little ship Margaret worked hard and tidied it up with a joyful hustle bustle.” She even starts a “beautiful” sea-stew simmering.

Each illustration, with colors neither too dull nor too bright, adds to the cheerful atmosphere. Maggie’s dresses are soft and flowery. The wing backed chair in her cabin is purple and printed with pineapples!

Even a crashing thunderstorm is taken in stride*. After she secures the ship, we see Maggie’s sense of confidence as she returns to her cozy cabin. It’s time for sea-stew, baked “peaches with cinnamon and honey, and glasses of warm goat’s milk” with fresh muffins. “When supper was over, Margaret …rocked James in his cradle and sang him her favorite song.” a perfect way to say goodnight to your young child.

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*As the storm approaches she “battens down the hatches”. The term has become an expression for “making everything watertight”. Originally it was quite literal. A batten is a thin strip of wood, a sturdy lath. Hatches, or openings in decks, used to be covered with canvas in rough weather. The edges of each hatch had slots, and when canvas was laid across them, the battens would be tapped into the slots so as to pin the canvas tightly over the hatch.