Suzanne Barton (text), Anil Tortop (illus.), Meeka, Bluebell Books, 1 Sept 2017, 32pp., $22.00 (hbk), ISBN: 9780648099307
Meeka is the story of a young girl and her Dad, their stew-selling market stall, and their birdy friend Meeka. While the young girl helps her Dad make “spicey, dicey stew,” Meeka flies around making friends with all the other stallholders. He also trials all of their fare: crusty bread, corn on the cob, fluffy fairy floss and more. These are not bird-appropriate treats and Meeka ends up with quite the sore tummy. When the stew stall crew is ready to pack and go home, they can’t find Meeka anywhere!
Barton has written a lively tale that young readers will enjoy tremendously. The language and story line are simple without becoming simplistic, and the tension of the story will engage and delight. Tortop’s illustrations are bright and dynamic, helping to create a market atmosphere full of friendship, joy and community.
Preschoolers or younger school-aged children will enjoy talking about their own experiences of markets, of birds, or of spending time with their fathers. They could create other tales of this market, the other stallholders or any further adventures of the cheeky and greedy Meeka!
Reviewed by Madeleine Crofts