Paulette is about 72 years old. Looks pretty good for her age, don’t you think? Actually, this is a new organdy dress and a new wig, with a warm sweater over it.
I got Paulette as a Christmas gift from my Uncle Paul in 1944, when he was in the Army stationed in Monterey, California. Originally, Paulette wore a gauzy white dress with small blue flowers on it; she had a mohair wig with long braids. Sorry, no picture is available of Paulette’s original form. Her companion was a small bear in a purple felt vest. Both had heads made of composition–a kind of pressed wood product often found in dolls of the early 20th century, and cloth bodies.
This is me with my Uncle Paul about the time he gave Paulette and Bear to me. Bear has kept his original clothes all this time, but Paulette has been redressed several times, as the original gauzy white dress with little blue flowers is very fragile now. Here are two pictures of Paulette in different clothes. The first one was taken in the 1980s with a cotton dress and matching cape. After that, it seems Paulette was packed away until 2013. The cotton dress and cape were gone, and Paulette was in a vintage white baby dress, but it didn’t fit very well and when the green organdy dress was found, it was put on Paulette. I like the organdy dress a lot better!
Maya is a beautiful book, lyrical and poetic. Maya is an anxious little girl who has lost her father and lives with her understanding mother. It is nighttime in the city, and the lights have gone out for the third time in a week.
In the dark, Maya’s heart is filled with fear. But her understanding mother tells her a wonderful story about a monsoon and a banyan tree. The tree, growing from the waters, housed many creatures in its branches: a peacock, a tiger, a monkey, a snake, even an elephant. The banyan tree, by draining the waters of the flood, saved the people and the creatures from the monsoon, gave shelter, and banished fear.
After hearing the story, it was time for sleep. But while her mother slept, Maya could not. Her heart was filled with fear, trembling at the sounds she heard–until she remembered her mother’s story. Encouraged by her mother’s thoughtful caring, and remembering also how her father told stories that she loved, Maya looked with fresh eyes on the creatures of the night. The story helped Maya to see that what she had feared was actually benign and reassuring. In the warmth of her mother’s story, and her father’s memory, Maya felt her fear float away.
As a psychotherapist working with children and their families for almost thirty years, I found much to treasure in this book. Parents need to remember always how important they are to their children. Storytelling is still a time-honored and welcome way for parents to impart knowledge and understanding to their children, and to strengthen their family connections.
My thanks to Allison MacLachlan of Owlkids Books for making a copy of Maya available for me to read and review.