Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Mila the Maker and the 200-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle by Rachel Loftspring

Today's read hits an activity we do every year around Christmas in our household—puzzling. The days between Christmas and New Year's tend to be slower, and several family members have usually been home for vacation. While living on the farm is awesome, it also means less to do during these colder days. So, we set up a card table in a corner of the living room, make sure we find a 'difficult' puzzle, and whenever someone has a little extra time, they put a few pieces together.

This picture book is all about puzzling...and I'm suspecting it will hold a valuable message as well. Since I don't remember ever seeing a book on this theme, I'm curious to see where this tale goes.

and the 200-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
by Rachel Loftspring
Illustrated by Amelina Jones
Mascot Kids
Picture Book
38 pages
ages 4 to 8


Mila is a special kid who loves to make things. In fact, she loves to make things so much, she’s called Mila the Maker. One day, Mila gets a brand new jigsaw puzzle with a lot of pieces—200! But even with so many pieces, Mila knows exactly what to do. She has a plan!

Or does she?

Find out what happens when Mila’s plan doesn’t go as expected. When nothing seems to work, and Mila gets really, really mad. (Warning: things may get messy.) And discover, along with Mila, a great little trick that can help you when things get hard.



With a nod toward the wonder of jigsaw puzzles, this read weaves into patience and so much more.

Mila loves to make things and has gained the nickname Mila the Maker. That includes putting together jigsaw puzzles. When she receives one with 200 pieces, she excited...but a little unsure. It's so many! But she's attacked smaller ones before and decides to go with the same concept. After putting the edge pieces together, she's sure it will be a breeze, but there are so many pieces still there. She has no clue how to even start.

This book has a bit of a more personal touch, which gives it a tender vibe, and this comes over nicely in the lighter toned illustrations. It also fits well to Mila's personality as she enjoys crafting and creating in her own walls. The joy at receiving the puzzle comes across clearly and brings a sense of familiarity for those readers, who have done a puzzle or two themselves. As the frustration builds, the impatience become apparent, but it doesn't steep into too negative directions, either. Mila's attitude is understandable, and the resolution of determination and never giving up rounds the tale off nicely.

While this holds the obvious messaging, it also nudges at the desire to pick up a puzzle. The puzzle Mila has heads in a van Gogh styled direction and offers a more difficult mix on the color scheme. The steps Mila takes match tried-and-used puzzle strategies and can help readers gain insight on how to approach more difficult ones themselves. 

The writing fits the age group and leads nicely into a theme surrounding puzzles. The rhymes weren't always as flowing as they could be, but this won't bother younger listeners. Especially if there is a puzzle at hand, this makes a rounded experience to enjoy.

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