Maya Makes A Mess
By Rutu Modan
Toon Books’ output seems to fall into a couple of camps; there’s the cute, sedate stuff (Benny & Penny, Silly Lily, Chick & Chickie, Little Mouse etc) and the quirky, more unusual stuff, whether in writing or in art (Shark King, Benjamin Bear, Nina, Luke On The Loose etc). I’m definitely more a fan of the quirky stuff, and Maya definitely falls into the quirky side of things.
Seriously. It’s silly. Brilliantly, stupidly, cleverly silly. And on top of that, it’s quite delightfully drawn. I know delightful might seem an odd adjective to come up with to describe the comic, but that’s what I felt all the way through. It delighted me, it charmed me, it made me laugh, I’m pretty much certain that it will do exactly that to our audience of eager comic readers at school.
Now, as for what it’s about.
Maya is just a typical little kid. A very messy typical little kid perhaps, and one very used to getting this sort of telling off…. and I reckon any parent, any child reading this will recognise it, and the typical dad response:
And you just know what happens next don’t you, don’t you?
There are bits like this all the way through Maya Makes A Mess, great moments of quiet brilliance in Modan’s comedic timing, exactly what I mean by delightful.
So, off she goes, via special plane, to visit a group of very familiar Royals, in a very familiar palace. Maya is getting just that little bit nervous:
“I’ve never met a Queen before…”
“As long as you mind your manners, the Queen will be nice.”
Good advice, and something she’s obviously keeping in mind as they sit down to a very lavish dinner, with Maya sat right next to her Maj:
Yep, so polite. But this is Maya after all, and she does like to make a mess.
Ketchup plus pasta plus Maya confused over why there isn’t a pasta fork in amongst the plentiful array of cutlery on offer equals this:
There you go. Great reaction shot. Including that great Corgie. How does Maya get out of this, how does the Queen react? I’ll leave that to your imagination until you can get hold of one of my favourite Toon Books so far.
Genuinely funny, absolutely delightful, great artwork. I defy you not to be swept up in this very modern, very silly, very delightful fairy tale with a difference. The good news is that, with Toon Books finally getting a better distribution deal in the UK via Turnaround, you should be able to get hold of this a lot more easily now.