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Renée Marie of France: Maya's World    by Maya Angelou & Lizzy Rockwell order for
Renée Marie of France
by Maya Angelou
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Renée Marie of France is one of the delightful Maya's World series. Dr. Maya Angelou tells us that 'When I was a little girl, / I looked around at my world. / It was small, so was I. / Then my world began to grow / With each child I came to know. / Now I try, / Now I dare / To make a new friend / Everywhere.'

Paris is the home of Renée Marie, who attends St. Catherine's School for Girls. The students wear green uniforms with straw hats. Renée Marie, who is very tall for her age, dislikes her school hat because it makes her look even taller (when she visited her cousins in the south of France, they made fun of her height). Renée Marie has a secret - she studies English so that she can some day go to Hollywood and become a tall movie star.

One day their teacher takes the class for a walk along the river Seine as far as the Eiffel Tower. Renée Marie has another secret; she's afraid of heights. At the site, she notices Jacques, who is tall like her. He tells Renée Marie that he used to be afraid of horses, but made himself ride until he conquered his fear. He encourages her to go with him to the top of the tower to see the sights of Paris. When they reach the observation deck, Renée Marie holds her breath, opens her eyes, and walks slowly to the wire netting with Jacques. 'Standing tall', Renée Marie and Jacques join her classmates while Madame tells the history of the Tower.

Lizzy Rockwell's expressive illustrations are bright, bouncy and cheerful. Maya Angelou likes to write about children from different countries 'because kids around the world are more alike than different', and she makes the commonalities clear in Maya's World.

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