Mae the Mayfly by Denise Brennan-Nelson

Mae the Mayfly by Denise Brennan-Nelson
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When Mae the mayfly first hatches she learns she’ll have just a day to enjoy the world. But soon a hungry trout has her racing for cover! As she peeks from her hiding spot and notices some of nature’s most beautiful sights, she realizes she must live in the moment and experience everything the–sometimes scary–world has to offer. This tender story reminds us all–young and old–to be present and mindful in all we do.

She only has about one day to live, and she’s not about to waste a moment of it.
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Our world is filled with beautiful moments. Luckily, Mae was the sort of mayfly who soon learned how to absorb all of the beauty around her as she enjoyed the short life she was born into. She had so many opportunities to marvel at things she never could have guessed existed when she was still in her egg. It was delightful to see her reaction to life on an ordinary spring day in the forest.

I struggled to understand how the section of this picture book about mindfulness tied into the plot. They were both thought provoking and worth reading, but it took me a while to think of any substantial ways in which they were connected. If I as an adult had trouble with it, I can only imagine how much harder it would be for a small child. It would have been really helpful to have more clues about where the author was going with this.

Some of my favorite scenes were the ones that showed how Mae responded to scary experiences. For example, there was a scene early on involving a hungry trout that wanted to eat her. That isn’t something most children’s books cover, so I was curious to discover how she’d handle it. Without giving away spoilers, I thought her response was perfect for this age group. She was frightened, but her coping mechanisms were excellent. The only thing better than her immediate response was how she handled her memories of that moment later on.

Mae the Mayfly was a gentle, caring introduction to sensitive topics like fear and the circle of life.

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