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“You will fail. But you will also get back up, and you will rise a little stronger and a little taller.” –Maybe
by Kobi Yamada
You are the only you there ever has been or ever will be. You are unique. Just the odds of you being here at this exact place and this exact time are so great and so rare that they will never happen again. This is a story for everything you will do and everything you could be. It’s for who you are right now, and it’s for all the magical, unbounded potential you hold inside.
Unlike most picture books, Maybe isn’t a story with a plot. Instead, the book gives advice interspersed with questions to consider. The text asks, “Maybe you will help others to see the beauty of each day? Maybe you are here to shine a light into places that have been dark for too long.” While all of the advice and questions encourage readers to think about their unique abilities, many of them are deep questions that require thought and meditation. Because of this, younger readers might have a difficult time staying focused through the end of the book.
The whimsical illustrations focus on a girl and her pig. The young girl has a cap made of leaves with a beak-like beak. While the illustrations are beautiful and interesting, some of them are odd and do not match the words. For example, in one picture the girl is standing inside a giant flower and watering it. In the picture, the pig is chasing a ladybug. The text asks, “What if you are only scratching the surface of what you can do and who you can be?”
Another negative aspect of the story is the quickly shifting focus. The questions do not seem to flow naturally but instead jump from thought to thought. Instead of having a unified theme, Maybe reads like a motivational speech from a stranger. Because of this, young readers may wiggle and squirm throughout the reading of the book. If you’re looking for a motivational picture book, you should bypass Maybe and instead check out I Believe I Can by Grace Byers and The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts by Trudy Ludwig.
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