Chloe Jasmine Harris, Maple the Brave, Walker Books Australia, May 2019, 40 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925381924
This debut picture book from illustrator, now author, Chloe Jasmine Harris, is a sweet, rustic, humble story about a fantastically named girl who overcomes fears to live a life many little girls would dream of.
Maple, who is of no certain origin, lives in a cosy, yet modest, treehouse in the forest. She collects fresh water and fruit so there has been no need for her to leave her comfortable dwelling and face her fears. After all, there could be any number of fierce animals making the terrifying noises she hears in the night.
When she finally summons the courage to descend from the safety of her loft she finds that her hesitation was unnecessary and that what she initially feared is actually a source of learning. She has new experiences and makes new friends and returns to her treehouse changed for the better.
The watercolour illustrations have an unrefined aesthetic that adds to the homespun, off-grid atmosphere of Maple’s world. Ultimately, she learns that she is strong and capable,and discovers a new way of living with those she was once scared of. It’s a sweet message for our young daughters to experience.
Reviewed by Cherie Bell