Spotlight On: Maisy by Lucy Cousins

I was absolutely delighted when our book selection panel chose Maisy’s Bus to go into the Bookbug Toddler Bag this year. Maisy has always been one of my favourites and when I saw Lucy Cousins speak about her at last year’s Children’s Books Ireland conference I was even more convinced.

Lucy talked about how Maisy “drew herself” one day - she appeared fully formed as the cheerful and engaging little character she is and this energy really comes across in her books. 

Cousins draws in a wonderful, childlike way that young children find really appealing

The first thing that strikes you about the Maisy books is how bright and colourful they are, really engaging for little ones and lovely and simple. Cousins draws in a wonderful, childlike way that young children find really appealing – I’ve seen this first hand with my little girl who is drawn to these books in a similar way as she reaches for anything by Nick Sharratt. Very good company!

Maisy is the perfect friend to accompany toddlers as they go through first experiences – whether that’s going on an aeroplane, to the dentist, to the library, or on a bus – Maisy and her friends can lend a supportive hand. And the fact that Maisy is so well-known means children are comfortable with her.

Scene from Maisy's Bus

Maisy is also important in the world of children’s books because she appeals equally to boys and girls, a very difficult thing to do. She is a strong female character – brave and fun and with her own personality. She doesn’t dress “like a girl”, instead choosing to don practical blue dungarees or a bright jumper and jeans. She doesn’t wear a bow in her hair or have eyelashes, all things that are too common when gendering characters in picture books. She is just herself and that’s what makes her so cool.

She is a strong female character – brave and fun and with her own personality.

And it’s not just Maisy. If you haven’t already, you should check out Lucy Cousins’ other work. Lucy now has sold more than 31 million books worldwide, including picture books, sticker books, cloth books, colouring books, board books, pull-the-tab and lift-the-flap books – the list goes on. A Busy Day for Birds and Hooray for Fish are excellent. But Peck, Peck, Peck is my favourite. My 2 year old daughter absolutely loves it and I think I probably know most of it off by heart. “Peck, peck, peck a tangerine, a nectarine, an aubergine, some margarine and seventeen jellybeans...” It’s a perfect concept and beautifully executed.

Kirsty Sinclair

Kirsty Sinclair is currently Head of Early Years (maternity leave)