Another children's book that didn't take very long to read, that made quite a refreshing change from Lucretius. A good cast of characters, although I felt everything was too black and white - the evil characters had no redeeming features, no moments when one could feel sympathy for them, and no real explanation as to why they were so unpleasant. But this did strike me as a fairy-tale, and I suppose such a division of good and evil is to be expected, and while the evil wasn't very interesting, the good certainly was. It is always interesting to read a child's perspective. Everything is so wonderfully uncomplicated. Which gets me wondering whether life really need be as troublesome as we supposed grown-ups make it.
The novel also made me feel quite ashamed as a tourist for my prejudices towards other countries. While I have travelled abroad, I have never really engaged with a place properly, on it's own terms, as Maia does in Brazil. With any luck, this will change my attitude to travel. 7.3/10.