Maisie Moo and Invisible Lucy, by Chris McKimmie

My name is Maisie Moo.
I live in a palace in the middle of nowhere.
The Gone Bonkers Discount Palace.
We sell all sorts of stuff.
Mainly gondolas.

The endpapers of Maisie Moo and Invisible Lucy show a truck and wide open spaces. Written against the pink-clouded sky are the names Ulladulla, Cunnamulla and other wonderfully named towns. Maisie’s Dad is a truck driver and travels, the endpapers suggest, all around Australia. Maisie and her invisible friend, Lucy, are waiting for Dad’s return. In the meantime, she shares with the reader a slice of her life. She likes her dog, Drongo, and sleeping in. She doesn’t like being an angel. She helps her mother in their shop. When it seems like Dad and Christmas will never come and Mum banishes Lucy, Maisie hides in her bedroom. Everything seems brighter in the morning as a new day dawns with ‘the earth as red as toffee apples and the clouds as pink as fairy floss from the Royal Show’.

Maisie addresses the reader directly, introducing herself and her world. Her voice is authentic, her observations droll. The childlike illustrations show the same clarity of vision, the same humour. Lucy’s presence waxes and wanes with Maisie’s need of her. The endless wait for Dad is shown in the quietness of the early illustrations just as the effect of his presence is made clear by the chaotic clutter of Dad’s storytelling. This is a clear picture of a child trying so hard to be good, trying so hard to be patient, although the words are never used. The text begins as ordered sentences, gradually loosens, mingles with the illustrations and becomes almost chaotic as Maisie’s wait threatens to overwhelm her. In the final spreads, calm returns but the end papers remind the reader that Dad will leave again and Maisie will again have to await his return. Recommended for 4-8 year olds.

Maisie Moo and Invisible Lucy, by Chris McKimmie
Allen & Unwin 2007
ISBN: 9781741751345