One of my favorite things about parenthood is watching my daughters explore objects in their world. They assign meaning and purpose to things in such imaginative, unpredictable ways.
Where I see pebbles, they see spirit rocks. Where I see empty bowls and tea cups, they see piping hot pumpkin soup and raspberry tea. Where I see paper, glue and string, they see everything they need to construct a super girl cape.
They innovate and create beyond preconceived notions, all the live-long day. This brings them extra close in spirit and practice to Maxine, the main character of new picture book MADE BY MAXINE by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Holly Hatam (Dial Books for Young Readers, October 2018).
In MADE BY MAXINE, resourceful Maxine takes familiar objects and uses them in new, unexpected ways. She de-constructs and re-constructs. She unscrews and re-glues. Her motto? If I can dream it, I can make it.
Maxine wants more than anything to bring her fish Milton to the school’s pet parade. But involving him (and his sloshy fish bowl) proves difficult. So she commits herself to creating a special tank that celebrates Milton and lets him be part of the fun. Things don’t go as planned. But after many a falter, clatter, and splatter, Maxine lands on a very important realization (one that will stay with me for a long time)…
“She had already discovered a million ways that would not work. Which meant she was getting closer to finding a way that would.”
Inspired by Maxine and her never-give-up attitude, we recently had our own maker play date. We gathered supplies that bent and folded… tied and twisted… hooked and clipped…
Then let our imaginations soar. My nephew made a treadmill for his sister’s stuffed animal…
My middle made a pet shipper… (Don’t tell our fish.)
My youngest made an obstacle course for Cinderella…
My oldest took a nap. (Dreaming of her next creation, perhaps?)
Like Maxine, they hit a few snags. Why-oh-why, Elmer’s glue, why do you dry so slowly?! It is awfully frustrating when the vision in your head doesn’t stick on the maker table. But they tweaked their designs and discovered a new avenue to Ta-Da. While the cousins created, mom learned a valuable lesson: Make sure the hot glue gun is warmed up and at-the-ready!
Piling the contents of the recycling bin onto the dining room table is a lot different from taking the lid off a shrink-wrapped game or craft kit. When up-cycling, there are no instructions, no rules. The field is wide open. The girls are already thinking beyond-the-box about their next maker session, and collecting toilet paper rolls... Thank you, Maxine, for taking us into the textural, boundary-free land of making. We like it here!
MADE BY MAXINE is available at or through your local bookstore, or via the online bookseller of your choice. Ruth Spiro (@RuthSpiro) is the author of the popular BABY LOVES SCIENCE series. Holly Hatam (@hollyhatam) is the illustrator of DEAR GIRL, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, among other children’s book titles.
One lucky reader will win MADE BY MAXINE, signed by Ruth Spiro! Here's how to enter:
*** Win MADE BY MAXINE ***
1. "Like" this post (click the heart below)
2. Follow me (@anitraschulte) on Twitter
3. Retweet my pinned contest tweet by 10/26/18
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