Review Detail

Kids Fiction 116
Great Multigenerational Tales
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Anna Hibiscus is back with further adventures in her home in lovely Africa, in Nigeria. It is now the hot season, and the big white house in the middle of a garden is as dry and sizzling as the city around it. Harmattan is a season distinguished by no rain, just dry and dusty conditions. Anna and her family practicing conserving water when they bathe, and save it so that they can water their garden. When Anna finds out that the "gate girls" who sell sundries outside the family's home are even more impacted by the lack of water than she is, she finds a way to share the precious resource with the less fortunate. Her baby twin brothers use the fact that everyone tries to move as little as possible to run off during their nap and get into all kinds of trouble, including raiding the treat jar. When Anna tries to shoo them away, she gets covered in candy wrappers and blamed for the theft! Anna's mother is a white woman from Canada, and is planning on taking Anna there for a visit. Because the weather is much different, they try to find warm clothing for Anna, which ends up being quite the adventure in the market. In the end, her family helps her be prepared for her upcoming trip.
Good Points
The cadence of the prose in these books lends these stories to read alouds. There are occasional nods to Nigerian speech patterns, such as ending words in "o" or repeating words. This gives an additional flavor to the books. The multigenerational family, the large house, and the younger and older people working together will seem unusual to some readers, but it a great window into another way of life.

Atinuke has also written picture books, including B is for Baby and Catch That Chicken, and readers who have read those will be glad to move on to this early chapter book series. There are a few other picture books set in Nigeria, including Adewume's Tani's New Home and Nnedi Okorafor's Chicken in the Kitchen, but I would love to see more early chapter books and even middle grade novels by Nigerian authors.

Tobia's black and white line drawings vividly show the beautiful gardens in the house and Anna's interesting clothign choices for her trip to Canada. Readers who enjoy early chapter books but want something with more cultural connections than Park's Junie B. Jones or the classic books of Beverly Clearly like Ramona the Pest will love that Anna Hibiscus' series has been reissued!
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