Atinuke is the author of many picture books that include her popular Anna Hibiscus series. Baby Goes to Market is a delightful read-aloud story by this award winning author. Along with the enchanting illustrations by Angela Brooksbank, this charming counting book is grounded in an authentic setting of a bustling west African market. Atinuke’s roots among the Yoruba of southwest Nigeria together with Angela Brookbank’s Ghanaian and Nigerian ancestries combine to tell a fun account of everyday encounters and transactions. As Mother shops carrying her young Baby on back, we meet the various vendors. Baby’s curiosity, smile, and funny antics attract the interest of the sellers who offer treats. The story introduces elementary arithmetic: counting, addition, and subtraction as the busy mother seems unaware of what is happening behind her. Baby both snacks and stacks fruit, roasted corn and cookies into the mother’s shopping basket balanced on top of her head. Mother begins to sense that her load is becoming heavy and her baby must be hungry. Surprise! So many things Mother did not buy are in her basket.
The text is very simple. The colorful illustrations are beautifully rendered with characters drawn with vivid expressions. Every page is full of colorful patterns. The relaxed style of the illustrator’s hand echoes the simple, playful tone of the text. Very fine production quality and attention to detail.
I highly recommend this book for children in pre-school and K-2. It provides lessons on simple numbers, adding and subtracting, and fosters themes of kindness, generosity, family and community as well as the global expression of the Mother and Child bond.
Reviewed by Deborah Stokes, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
Published in Africa Access Review (February 7, 2018)
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