When I moved away for college I took my ʻukulele with me. Whenever I felt overwhelmed or sad I would pick it up and play and sing until I felt better. It became a lifeline, a tether, that kept me close to home. Naturally, given all the stress and shenanigans I got myself into, I ended up playing my ʻukulele quite often. Music was the balm that would soothe my restless heart. Music saved my sanity and my grades. Music can save the soul… and in some cases, like the one below, music can even save a village.

Maka the Magic Music Maker (BeachHouse Publishing, 2012) a new keiki book by local radio personality Shannon Scott is a delightful story about a boy who loves to play ʻukulele. The people in his village stop to listen and sing along whenever Maka plays his ʻuke and sings the “Maka Shaka Shuffle”. One day a grumpy puaʻa enters the village thrashing and snorting, and eating everything in sight. Just before the puaʻa can run into Maka’s baby sister, he jumps in front of her and begins to play. The puaʻa is so surprised he stops. Maka plays his song again and again as he walks out of the village. The puaʻa follows him and eventually the village is saved.

This book comes with an audio CD of  the author reading the story out loud, so it’s a perfect read-along for young readers. Scott’s energetic voice and radio talent really shine in his reading, he’s upbeat and easy to listen to. The CD also has the full song version of the “Maka Shaka Shuffle”, which you MUST hear in order to get the full effect of the story. A warning: this catchy tune WILL get stuck in your head. But even better, for you ʻuke players, Scott has included the lyrics and ʻukulele chords to the “Maka Shaka Shuffle” at the back of the book.

The book’s glossy, full page illustrations by Holly Braffet will engulf you. The colors and details bring you right into the story and the facial expressions on all the characters, even the trouble-making puaʻa, are just as readable as the text. Braffet really has a talent for capturing the Hawaiian aesthetic without resorting to cheesy stereotypes. A fun game to play with the illustrations–count the shakas– since everyone is dancing to Maka’s shaka shuffle.

This charming book is a must-have for this season and with the audio CD as a bonus it would make an ideal gift. It’s a happy, light-hearted story about music, family and community. It’s well written and beautifully illustrated and the perfect addition to any keiki book collection. A wonderful book for any keiki ʻukulele players.

Check out our calendar of events for dates and times of author appearances and signings for this very special book!



Maka the Magic Music Maker
by Shannon Scott illus. Holly Braffet
Beach House Publishing, 2012
$14.95 retail