Please, Malese! A Trickster Tale from Haiti by Amy MacDonald, pictures by Emily Lisker
“My toes are suffering,” says Malese as he stretches out in his hammock. “They need new shoes, that’s what they need.” Malese has not a penny to his name and nothing to trade, but does he worry? Not at all. His pockets may be empty, but his mind is full of clever ideas. It isn’t long before he’s thought up a trick to get himself some fine new shoes. From marketplace to mountainside, Malese outsmarts his neighbors with trick after trick, until they’ve had enough and are determined, for once, to get the best of him.
Readers will giggle when they see who gets the best of whom in this fresh and funny trickster tale, illustrated with art that explodes with the brilliant colors of Haiti.
This book is just pure fun. The pictures are gorgeous, simply drawn but full of vibrant colors. Malese tricks his neighbors into giving him everything from shoes to rum for a cake. They end up throwing him in jail for a month, but of course Malese is pretty sly. By the end, not only is he out of jail, but his neighbors are fixing up his house for him—for free of course.
At first I thought it’s kind of a shame that Malese never learns not to trick his friends and neighbors, but this is a traditional trickster story and a trickster is always a trickster. On top of that, I feel like Malese’ friends and neighbors do love him, in spite of how he treats them. I like to think of them as more amused than angry in the end.
Amber loves this story too. It does makes her laugh and she gets a kick out of Malese’ antics. She got this at school a couple of years ago and it’s signed by the author: “To Amber, who loves books…and playing tricks?!!” It’s almost like she knew her.