BAYOU MAGIC   by Jewell Parker Rhodes
February 23, 2016
Candace Hardy (22 articles)

BAYOU MAGIC by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Coretta Scott King Honor Book recipient Jewell Parker Rhodes has spun an amazing midgrade novel emanating from her love of Louisiana. After four sisters have spent summers in the bayou with Grandmere, it is finally Maddie’s turn. Unlike her sisters who found Grandmere and her life primitive, boring, lacking in modern conveniences and filled with crazy stories, Maddy welcomes the experience with open arms, absorbing the sights and sounds and the magical tales with her new friend Bear.

From the first day, Maddie sees that her days will be a series of lessons  where Maddie discovers that her uniqueness is a gift of her wonderfully mixed heritage. From calling fireflies to getting eggs from Sweet Pea, every lesson leads her closer to being ready. Initially though she is not quite sure for what she is to be ready.

She believes that the bayous holds Mami Wata, the beautiful mermaid that guided her ancestors from Africa; but she never images the role the mystical creature will play in her life and the safety of the bayou and all of its inhabitants.

                                         I think there were more mermaids like you. More who followed slave ships to new worlds.

                                    More who loved children, and maybe not just children, but any kidnapped soul. 

Candace Hardy