Serious Sass and Messy Magda by Marianne de Pierres

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Ill. by Rachel Annie Bridgen. Books to Treasure, 2013. ISBN 9781909423046.
The picture book Serious Sass and Messy Magda is a change of pace for well known Australian author Marianne De Pierres who is better known for her young adult fantasy science fiction books.
This is a story which celebrates difference as Sas and Magda go about their daily lives with a bit of a twist. Mum, Magda, is a free spirit who likes to have fun. She leaves a trail of mess behind as she enthusiastically embraces life's experiences. On the other hand Sas, her daughter is tidy and almost obsessively serious, thoughtful and well behaved. (Think Ab Fab's Edina and Saffron)
Sas becomes quite worried as 'Bring your Mum Day' at school approaches. With Magda dressed in an old flamenco dress and odd shoes, Sas is sure she will do something silly and tries to hide as it is Magda's turn to speak, but all turns out for the best as the other students enjoy having fun singing and dancing with Magda.
The colourful illustrations add to the story as we see the difference between the tidy and messy bedrooms and bathrooms and feel Sas's embarrassment and frustration at the cafe and circus as Magda behaves in a perfectly child like manner. The family dog and cat feature on every page participating joyfully with Magda and worrying with Sas.
This story will be a useful addition to any discussion on stereotypes in children's fiction and roles in the family as well as celebrating the different characters that inhabit our lives.
Sue Keane