Catch that Chicken
Candlewick Press (MA)
July 7, 2020
"The team behind Baby Goes to Market and B Is for Baby visit a Nigerian village for a humorous ode to childhood ingenuity. Lami is the best chicken catcher in the whole village. Her sister may be speedy at spelling, her friend fast at braiding hair, and her brother brave with bulls, but when it comes to chickens, nobody is faster or braver than Lami. That is, until the day when Lami chases a little too fast, up the baobab tree, and reaches a little too far . . . ow! How can she catch chickens with an ankle that's puffed up like an angry lizard? Could it be, as Nana Nadia says, that quick thinking is more important than quick running? Award-winning author Atinuke celebrates Nigerian village life in a story vibrantly illustrated by Angela Brooksbank with a universal message at its heart." Publisher
Everyone has a special accomplishment. Lami is a speedy chicken catcher. The plot of catching chickens will definitely get the attention of young readers. When Lami falls and sprains her ankle, she thinks her chicken catching days are over. However, Nana Nadia reassures her it is not her ankle that is holding her back. Rather it is her lack of quick thinking.
Angela Booksbank’s illustrations are catchy as well. The reader understands the components of a village: the baobab tree meeting place, the outdoor school, the laundry, and animal carrel along with zillions of chickens.
The large print is good for a group read. However, Atinuke missed the opportunity to use Igbo or another Nigerian language to reinforce Lami’s talents. Bilingual books provide readership for North Americans and Africans. Now that the author has established herself as a children’s author, this reviewer would like to see her expand her delivery for a greater readership. It would be helpful for new readers to know where the story is situated.
Reviewed by Patricia Kuntz PhD
Published in Africa Access Review (October 10, 2021)
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