The Well-Crafted World of Maya | Review of “Maya” by Mahak Jain/Illustrated by Elly MacKay (2016) OwlKids Books

A book that is well thought-out and crafted – no matter how small or short it is  – is a pleasure to spend time with and carefully ponder. To appreciate the fine details that encourage a reader to loose themselves in a plot of a story seem almost enlightening to anyone’s mind. And there is plenty to ponder over in the detailed efforts of Mahak Jain and Elly MacKay in Maya.


There is a lyrical way the prose of the story flows here, written by Mahak Jain. We follow Maya who is fearful because the lights have gone out and her father isn’t around to light the candles to soothe her like he usually does. Maya’s mother tell a tale of how the first monsoon came to be creating the first banyan tree. But soon the tale takes on a life of it’s  own as Maya begins to imagine herself among the beings in that tree.


“The first monsoon was a long time ago,” Mumma said. “The earth filled with rivers, and water seeped into the ground. Everyone was scared that the heavy rain would wash away their homes and destroy their crops.

“One little girl was especially afraid. What if the waters washed her away while she slept?”

Maya clasped her mother’s hand. “This doesn’t sound like a happy story.”

“By the bank of a new river,” Mumma continued, “Rested a banyan tree. Just a sapling, it drank and drank. The monsoon rains flowed through its roots. They fed its thirty leaves and swelled its young trunk, and soon the sapling was a small tree.

“As the tree grew, so did the branches. They grew wider, until they could bear the weight of a tiger. They grew longer, until a peacock could strut in their shade. And then the branches sprouted roots that dropped like ropes, until a monkey could swing through them in play.”

Jain has definitely used her skills from her short story and poetry experiences into this story. The plot seem to sing off the page and into the reader’s mind, almost staying in place. And the story within the story of the plot has a magical feel to it, enchanting the reader to go forward with the book.


The images that MacKay has crafted for this book are brilliant and illuminating (not just on there own but they illuminate the plot of the story as well.) A reader could get lost in the images alone for hours on end for the detail they show and the feelings they give off.


Mahak Jain and Elly MacKay have crafted a truly gifted book with Maya. The words sing off the page and the illustrations literally enrich the story. And with that right combination of elements, the book is a pleasure to ponder over.


Link to OwlKids books website for Maya

Great video on Youtube showcasing how Maya came together

Link to Mahak Jain’s website

Link to Elly MacKay’s website

Link to Mahak Jain’s page for Toronto’s Word on the Street Festival for Sept. 25, 2016



4 thoughts on “The Well-Crafted World of Maya | Review of “Maya” by Mahak Jain/Illustrated by Elly MacKay (2016) OwlKids Books

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