What makes Maine Maine?

In their book “Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree State,” photographer Jennifer Smith Mayo and writer Matthew P. Mayo have compiled half a hundred items that make the country’s 23rd state tick.

Ticks didn’t make that list, but blackflies, the despised state mascot, did. The page detailing blackflies advised the best way to withstand their swarming spring onslaught — don head nets and body nets.

In addition to insects, people, places and things are among the icons.

Famous highlighted Mainers are both real — Stephen King, Chester Greenwood, Joshua Chamberlain, the Wyeth family and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, as well as fictional — Paul Bunyan.

And places featured are modern and historical — people poised for Prospect can experience both in one visit if they ascend 400-plus feet to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory then descend to the adjacent trenches of the Civil War-era Fort Knox.

Among the things singled out: Windjammers, lupines and balsam.

Native Mainers and so-called summercators might have to only step outside (fog) or perhaps venture somewhere far flung (Libby’s Camps in T8 R9) to experience a Maine icon. Lighthouses dot the rugged rock-bound coast and Acadia National Park and Baxter Park were naturals to make the list. Iconic retail royalty included L.L. Bean in Freeport and any of the double-digit locations of Renys.

The Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, and the state’s largest fair in Fryeburg are the ultimate in symbolic state fare. But alas, the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity and the Pittsfield Egg Festival and its trademark, the world’s largest frying pan, didn’t crack the top 50.

The Mayos, who have lived in Maine for two decades, indicated they had difficulty settling on 50 celebrated symbols. In the book’s introduction, they gave props to both the CGCF and the freakish frying pan, not to mention the world’s largest coffee pot in Island Falls.

For people hankering some coffee and pie, or those getting just plain hungry thinking about all that there is to do and see in Maine, Mayo and Mayo listed a couple of divine diners and plenty of Maine-style food and drink offerings.

Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro and Red’s Eats in Wiscasset are lauded, as are Poland Spring Water and Moxie. The Mayos marveled that Moxie is “simultaneously the world’s most-loved and most-reviled drink.”

Wild blueberries, bean hole beans, potatoes and whoopie pies made the menu, but fiddleheads didn’t cut the mustard. Raye’s Mustard did.

Lupines and balsam were counted among Maine’s marvels; but nor’easters, spring floods and the Desert of Maine were left out in the cold … for now.

Perhaps the Mayos will pen and photograph a sequel as they indicated that many other treasures, including the three-story outhouse in the Masonic Lodge in Bryant Pond, Liberty Tool and Uncle Henry’s are also worth exploring.

The 102-page hardcover, dedicated to Belfast resident and former editor of Down East magazine, Dale Kuhnert, sells for $16.95. The magazine of Maine, is one of the 50 icons.