Maurice, by Jessixa Bagley, (May 2023, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781797211732
Maurice is a canine concert musician-turned-busker, motivated by love in this moving tale about the ultimate inspiration. Introducing Maurice as a musician who once played to large music halls until “times and things changed. They always do”, Maurice now brings joy to everyone around him as a street musician. He lives a quiet, kind life and draws inspiration from the many birds who share his apartment: “Though his own joys were small, they were his whole world”. He has named them all; he speaks lovingly to all of them, and they inspire him. Sadly, as “the melody of life change[s] once more”, Maurice’s busking cup runs dry and he must let the birds go, leaving his heart empty. Bagley’s stunning gatefold spread shows the beauty the birds flying off into the sunset and the devastation on Maurice’s face as he watches them leave. Moving toward a resolution, we learn that “hearts remember” kindness. In concert, Maurice is surrounded in the darkness of the concert hall and alone under the spotlight; as a busker, he is bathed in warm colors, surrounded by other canines who delight in his music, really delivering the message that Maurice is motivated by love and sharing his gift. A good choice for collections.
Maurice received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.