Saturday, June 19, 2021

Review: Too Small Tola by Atinuke

 Today's book greets from Lagos. It's a chapter book for beginner readers, who are a little more sure of their words but not quite ready for middle grade novels. Three short stories make up this one, each one exposing a bit of life in India along the way.

But I'm not blabbering any longer...

by Atinuke
Illustrated by Onyinye Iwu
Candlewick Press
Chapter Book
96 pages
ages 4 to 8

Tolu may be small, but she's very determined.

Three delightful stories about Too Small Tola, a young girl who, though small, is very determined. Tola lives in a flat in Lagos with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmummy, who is very bossy. Tola proves to be stronger than she seems when she goes to market with Grandmummy and manages to carry home a basket full of yams and vegetables, chilli peppers and fish. When the taps in the flat don't work, it's Tola who brings water from the well, and it's Tola who saves the day when Mr Abdul, the tailor, needs his goods to be delivered quickly. Too Small Tola is a wonderful new character in the world of children's books by multi-award-winning children's writer and storyteller Atinuke.

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Tola might be small, but these pages show how 'big' a girl can still be in a way which is sure to entertain and teach a bit, too.

Tola lives with her Grandmummy, sister and brother in a poorer area of Lagos. While her sister and brother are talented, she is simply small for her age and gets teased about it, too. But Grandmummy knows that there's more to being big than just pure size, and Tola proves that she might be bigger than anyone could suspect.

This is a collection of three short stories, which are perfect for beginner readers, who are more sure of their words. The stories take place in a poorer part of Lagos and demonstrate how people there live, while presenting an entertaining tale. The details and aspects just slide right along with the story, so that the scenes...although probably unknown to many...come across perfectly natural. So, kudos alone on that end!

Tola is a sweet, little girl, and young readers with older siblings will have no trouble relating to her problems. The family is, however, very loving and always there for each other despite smaller issues. Tola's adventures happen in her every day life, and yet, they are engaging and lure in. Add the simple but nicely done illustrations on every page, and this is a read I can really recommend. 

And here she is...

Atinuke, author of Baby Goes to MarketToo Small TolaAfrica, Amazing Africa: Country by Country; the Anna Hibiscus series; and more talks to Candlewick Press about her Nigerian roots and the art of oral and written storytelling!

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