Monthly Archives: May 2015

Ellie and the Cat


Title:  Ellie and the Cat

Author: Malorie Blackman

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press              

 Number of pages: 93          

 Type of Book: Fiction

 Age: 6-8

Available here:

 Price: N400; GBP 5.99

MY SUMMARY (without the ending):

Ellie is a very spoilt and very mouthy kid. She calls her grandma ‘dumpy and frumpy’ to her face, complains about EVERYTHING and throws her dinner, which she calls smelly, stinky and rotten, under the table. But she’s really just a lonely child who has no friends. When Grandma decides to teach Ellie a lesson by switching her with Jolly the cat, Ellie learns to be less mouthy and make new friends. But will she find Grandma’s ring before the time limit or remain a cat forever?


UP: Humour! The book made me laugh. I especially loved the names of the mouse and spider, Grimbledon Scunacrunch and Vinegar Blunderthud respectively. It also teaches some moral lessons without being didactic.

DOWN: None


3.5 stars


  1. How many magic tricks did Ellie’s Grandma perform: 1. She switched Ellie and Jolly the cat. 2. She made Ellie’s dinner appear on her plate after Ellie had thrown it under the table.
  2. Was Jolly a good cat or a bad cat? Bad cat
  3. Did Jolly want to change back into a cat so he could chase and eat all the mice or did he want to remain a girl? He wanted to be a girl.
  4. The first two friends Ellie made. Grimbledon Scunacrunch, the mouse and Vinegar Blunderthud, the spider.
  5. How much time did Ellie have to find Grandma’s wedding ring before she had to remain a cat forever? Until dinner time the next day.
  6. The ‘best silk tapestries’ made by Vinegar Blunderthud were really —– Cobwebs

Next Book of the Week (01/June/2015 – 07/June/2015):

(HERE’S HANK series) BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO! BOOK 1 by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver


Half Hour Hauwa



Hauwa Habeeb had a big fat problem and if she didn’t fix in 30 minutes, she would be in big fat trouble.

The problem lay at her feet, and she stared at it as if if she stared long enough, it would fix itself. There were five small pieces and one big pot-shaped piece of what used to be the beautiful vase that her daddy bought just yesterday. It was a huge flower vase, almost as tall as she was and she was tall for her age: 3 feet 6 inches at 8 years and 1 month. It was also very colourful, with lots of beautiful flowers painted on it: red roses, pink hibiscuses, orange lilies, yellow sunflowers, etc.

The vase was the only beautiful thing in the Habeeb parlour. Mr. Habeeb was a lecturer and Mrs. Habeeb was a stay-at-home mum so the Habeebs were not very rich. There were only three ugly furry armchairs, one wooden table, one old television that looked like a shoe box, one wooden grandfather clock with termite bites all over it, one old standing fan that sounded like a generator, and three ugly, heavy, towel-like curtains, in the Habeeb parlour and they were all either black or grey in colour. It was a rather dull parlour. The flowers on the vase made the parlour look nice and colourful yesterday.

Those beautiful flowers lay in broken pieces at Hauwa’s feet now and she could see her daddy’s angry face in them as clearly as if he were standing in front of her. She imagined all the things he would do to her. Maybe he would shout at her? No, not maybe, he would definitely shout. Ummm, maybe he would also flog her? No, not maybe, he would definitely flog her. Then mummy would flog her too because she had told her like 500 times to stop playing in the parlour. Maybe they would also take her story books, or make her eat beans or garri every day or make her do more house work or oh no!! Stop her from watching TV. No cartoons! Hauwa wilted. Her chin dropped and tears welled up in her eyes. Flogging and no cartoons! Horrible! The end of the world!

“Baaaaang!!!!! Baaaaang!!!!! Baaaaang!!!!! Baaaaang!!!!! Baaaaang!!!!!” screamed the grandfather clock and Hauwa’s head pooped up to look at it, her eyes as wide as the saucers mummy used to serve tea when they had special guests.

“O! Oo!! It’s 5 o’clock!! Daddy will be back in 30 minutes! O! Oooooo!!”

Mr. Habeeb liked to come home to relax in his favourite furry armchair in the parlour every evening. He drove into the compound at 5:30 on the dot every day and parked his black Volkswagen beetle under the mango tree outside. Then he walked into the house and straight to the parlour to read the newspaper, watch TV and drink beer. In 30 minutes, she would hear the tutututu tutututu sound of his beetle as it parked and then the tip tap of his shoes as he dusted them on the mat outside the door to keep the sand from getting into the house. She scratched her head and looked around the parlour for ideas.

“What to do? What to do?” she looked at the broken pieces again and smiled hard “Maybe I can stick them together with glue!!!!” She dashed to her room like Mr. Festu, the most wicked teacher in the world, was chasing her with his scary cane made of guava stick. Her art box was under her bed.

Grabbing the tube of glue from the box, she ran back to the parlour, locking the door quietly behind her. She didn’t want anyone to come in even though mummy had gone to the market with Grace, the help and Yewande, her 16-year-old sister was probably in her room, talking on the phone, as usual. She picked up two pieces of broken glass, one in each hand, poured a lot of glue over them and pressed them firmly together, and then she counted.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10”

On the count of 10, she pulled her hands away from each other and ….

… to be continued

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Title:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Author: Jeff Kinney

Publisher: Puffin                  

Number of pages: 217        

Type of Book: Fiction, Graphic Novel

Age: 10+ (Because younger readers are more impressionable and Greg is not a good role model)

Available here: Terrakulture, Victoria Island Lagos;

Price: N2,500; N1,600; $8.37

MY SUMMARY (without the ending):

Greg Heffley (GH) is the Wimpy Kid and this book is his diary (or journal), complete with the ruled lines you’d find in the average book as well as the amateur drawings of a 9-year-old. GH is not the average 9-year-old boy; he’s sneakier, lazier and funnier and his diary will make you fight the urge to give him a few smacks, make you laugh, make you shake your head in annoyance a few times and may make you want to read the 9 or so other books in the series. A good read.


UP: Humour!  Oh! the thoughts GH came up with, the deeds he carried out and the ways he justified them!! The book had me in stitches for days!

DOWN: The negative reviews I read about this series described GH as a jerk and a slacker. Sadly, I agree with them because, unfortunately, most of the humorous parts of this book had Greg Heffley doing something bad to someone or some people. It is therefore not the best book (and this is an understatement) for kids who want to make and keep friends or make good grades in school for that matter.

Or maybe it is, if you do the opposite of most of the things that GH did. J




  1. ‘If Rowley ever gets too big for his britches, I’ll just remind him that he was the guy who ate the _ _ _ _ _ _.’ Cheese: a piece of mouldy, rotten cheese that had been on the basketball court for months.
  2. The name of Rodrick’s band. Löded Diper (from ‘loaded diaper’)
  3. Why did GH sign up to be a tree at the school play? So that he could pelt Patty Farrell with apples in front of a live audience
  4. Why? Because he wanted to cheat on his Geography test and she foiled his plans
  5. ‘Dear Gregory, I’m very sorry I chased you with a booger (dried mucus from the nose) on my finger. Here, I put it on this paper so you can get me back’ Who wrote this note? And what happened afterwards? Fregley, GH passed out
  1. GH is totally concerned about his ‘popularity’ position in school (he’s 52nd or 53rd) so he hatches all sorts of ‘unsuccessful’ plans to become famous. Some of them: running for student government treasurer, trying to get voted the class clown, trying to become the cartoonist for the school paper.


Read an excerpt here:

Visit GH here:

Next Book of the Week (27/May/2015 – 02/June/2015):

THE HIDDEN STAR by K. Sello Duiker

Welcome Home, Anna Hibiscus

aadTitle:  Welcome Home Anna Hibiscus

Author: Atinuke 

Publisher: Walker Books

Number of pages: 111 

Type of Book: Fiction

Age: 6-8

Available here:; Terrakulture, Victoria Island, Lagos;

Price: N1,100; GBP 3.99

MY SUMMARY Anna Hibiscus is a little girl who lives with her mum, dad, aunties, uncles and cousins in a big white house in an African Country (that is not mentioned in the book). Follow Anna’s adventures as she carries an egg around until it hatches into a chicken and becomes her ‘son’, visits her friend Tiger Lily in the city and attempts to be a ‘mother’ to a spirited and naughty chicken who gets Anna and itself into a lot of scrapes throughout the book.


UP: Humour! I laughed a lot at the trouble that Snow White, the chicken, got Anna into. I also loved the image of communal life in the outskirts of the city painted by the writer. The pictures (almost one very page) make this a fun and easy read.

DOWN: It propagates the idea that Africa is a country. Words like ‘Africanly’, ‘traditional African courtesy’, ‘a good traditional African girl’, etc., almost made this book an unpleasant read for me.

RATING 3 stars


  1. Anna’s friend from Canada: Tiger Lily.
  2. Who had the name of a fairy tale princess: Anna’s chicken: Snow White
  3. Two girls were named after flowers in the book: Anna Hibiscus and Tiger Lily
  4. What did Snow White do to Aunty Joly when Tiger Lily’s daddy came to visit? He landed on her head and flew away with her head tie
  5. Who was called Pronto? The old he-goat
  6. Tiger Lily had these in her house instead of people. Screens/Television sets

 Next Book of the Week (25/May/2015 – 01/June/2015): ELLIE AND THE CAT by Malorie Blackman

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The Land of Story-Books, a Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson

At evening when the lamp is lit,

Around the fire my parents sit;

They sit at home and talk and sing,

And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl

All in the dark along the wall,

And follow round the forest track

Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,

All in my hunter’s camp I lie,

And play at books that I have read

Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,

These are my starry solitudes;

And there the river by whose brink

The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away

As if in firelit camp they lay,

And I, like to an Indian scout,

Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,

Home I return across the sea,

And go to bed with backward looks

At my dear land of Story-books.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning (Book the First)

BadBeginning ♦

Title:  The Bad Beginning

Author: Lemony Snicket

Publisher: Egmont               

Number of pages: 163        

Type of Book: Fiction

Age: 8-12

Available here: BLENCO supermarket, Ajah, Lagos

Price: N1000

MY SUMMARY (without the ending):

‘If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book’

This is the first line from this book and one of the most memorable first lines I’ve ever seen. Violet, Klaus and Sunny are the wealthy Baudelaire children whose lives turned upside down when their parents died in a fire accident, which also took their home and everything they owned. A series of unfortunate events follows afterwards. First off, the orphans were moved to Mr. Poe (their father’s banker)’s home where they had to share a room with his obnoxious children, in their smelly room and dressed in grotesque-coloured clothing purchased for them by Mrs. Poe. They hated living in Mr. Poe’s home but their next home was much worse. In Count Olaf’s home, they had cold porridge for breakfast everyday, did domestic chores everyday and got struck a time or two. All the while taking turns sleeping on the only narrow bed provided for them, avoiding Count Olaf’s very weird and very mean actor-friends and trying to thwart his plans to steal their fortune.

Throughout the book, the writer continuously warns the reader that this book is unpleasant and will not have a happy ending. He uses the perfect blend of humor and horror to make this a delicious meal for bookworms.

This is the 1st book of 13 in A Series of Unfortunate Events.


UP: I really liked the fact that the book reads like the writer is telling the story directly to the reader. He frequently used the words, ‘I’ and ‘You’. In some places, he stops narrating, recounts a short story about himself and then continues. These little ‘asides’ make it very interesting, like reading a letter or listening to a friend tell a story, albeit a long one in this case. The characters were another highlight of this book, especially the greedy uncle, Count Olaf and his band of theater misfits: the enormous man who looked like neither a man nor a woman, the man with hooks for hands, the two women with so much white powder on their faces, they looked like ghosts, etc.

I also liked the fact that so many times, the writer immediately explained the meaning of new words without interrupting the reader’s flow.



4 stars


  1. The Baudelaire children’s favourite pastimes. Violet loved inventing things, Klaus loved reading and Sunny loved biting
  2. There were lots of these in Count Olaf’s house. Paintings, drawings and carvings of The EYE
  3. What did Count Olaf’s his ankle and the Baudelaire orphans’ room have in common? The EYE
  4. ‘For children who read so much, you two are remarkably unintelligent.’ The sender and receivers of this statement? Maker: Count Olaf; Recipients: Violet and Klaus
  5. The most striking feature on Count Olaf’s face, one that is quite different from what most human beings have? He had only one long EYEbrow
  6. Klaus, you (hopefully) and I have this in common. We LOVE books

Read an excerpt from the book here:

Visit its website here: Borrowing a leaf from dear Mr. Snicket, I’d like to say that if reading stories about the miserable lives of the Baudelaire children is not your thing, then don’t visit because you’ll definitely find more torturous tales THERE! J

More fun facts about this series here

Next Book of the Week (20/May/2015 – 26/May/2015):


♦The book cover shown here is the edition from Harper Collins not Egmont .

Mike Teavee, a Poem by Roald Dahl

Mike Teavee by the Oompa Loompas (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

The most important thing we’ve learned,

So far as children are concerned,

Is never, NEVER, NEVER let

Them near your television set —

Or better still, just don’t install

The idiotic thing at all.

In almost every house we’ve been,

We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.

They loll and slop and lounge about,

And stare until their eyes pop out.

(Last week in someone’s place we saw

A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)

They sit and stare and stare and sit

Until they’re hypnotised by it,

Until they’re absolutely drunk

With all that shocking ghastly junk.

Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,

They don’t climb out the window sill,

They never fight or kick or punch,

They leave you free to cook the lunch

And wash the dishes in the sink —

But did you ever stop to think,

To wonder just exactly what

This does to your beloved tot?










‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,

‘But if we take the set away,

What shall we do to entertain

Our darling children? Please explain!’

We’ll answer this by asking you,

‘What used the darling ones to do?

‘How used they keep themselves contented

Before this monster was invented?’

Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?

We’ll say it very loud and slow:

THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,

AND READ and READ, and then proceed

To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!

One half their lives was reading books!

The nursery shelves held books galore!

Books cluttered up the nursery floor!

And in the bedroom, by the bed,

More books were waiting to be read!

Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales

Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales

And treasure isles, and distant shores

Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,

And pirates wearing purple pants,

And sailing ships and elephants,

And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,

Stirring away at something hot.

(It smells so good, what can it be?

Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)

The younger ones had Beatrix Potter

With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,

And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,

And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-

Just How The Camel Got His Hump,

And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,

And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,

There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-

Oh, books, what books they used to know,

Those children living long ago!

So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,

Go throw your TV set away,

And in its place you can install

A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

Then fill the shelves with lots of books,

Ignoring all the dirty looks,

The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,

And children hitting you with sticks-

Fear not, because we promise you

That, in about a week or two

Of having nothing else to do,

They’ll now begin to feel the need

Of having something to read.

And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!

You watch the slowly growing joy

That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen

They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen

In that ridiculous machine,

That nauseating, foul, unclean,

Repulsive television screen!

And later, each and every kid

Will love you more for what you did.

Watch a video clip from the movie here:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

new doc 9_1 

Title:  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Author: Roald Dahl

Publisher: Puffin                  

Number of pages: 190        

Type of Book: Fiction, Classic

Age: 8+

Available here: Bookazine, Surulere, Lagos;

To borrow: ZODML library, Ikoyi, Lagos 

 Price: N1580; $4.99

MY SUMMARY (without the ending):

This is the story of a 9-year-old boy, Charlie Bucket whose family was quite poor. He longed for 2 things more than anything else in the world.

  1. Chocolate
  2. To visit the Wonka Chocolate Factory: the biggest and most famous chocolate factory in the world.

It details Charlie’s adventure of a lifetime after he wins one of five Golden tickets in the world to spend a day at the Wonka Chocolate Factory. Roald Dahl has a way with words. His apt and quite colourful description of the many rooms and contraptions in the Chocolate Factory, the oompa-loompas, Willy Wonka, and the five children will entertain and leave a wonderful taste in the mouth and mind for years to come.


UP: The oompa-loompas, the chocolate mixing waterfall, the great brown river of chocolate (that could fill all the bathtubs and swimming pools in the country), the huge glass pipes that sucked Augustus Gloop up, Mr. Wonka’s yacht (the enormous gleaming pink boat made of boiled sweet and rowed by one hundred oompa-lompas all make this a feast for the senses and a Fantastic Read!


RATING: 5 Stars: A must read for bookworms AND their parents!!


  1. Workers in Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory? Oompa-Loompas
  2. How many pets did Veruca Salt have? 21+ (two dogs, four cats, six bunny rabbits, two parakeets, three canaries, a green parrot, a turtle, a bowl of goldfish, a hamster and a cage of mice.
  3. Eight three word details about Willy Wonka. Extraordinary little man, black top hat, plum-coloured velvet tailcoat, bottle green trousers, pearly gray gloves, gold-topped walking cane, pointed black beard, marvelously bright eyes.
  1. What did the Indian Prince Pondicherry want from Mr. Wonka? A palace made of chocolate.
  2. For how long had Violet Beauregarde chewed the piece of gum in her mouth when she walked into the factory? Three months! Yuck!
  3. Charlie ate two types of Willy Wonka’s chocolate. What were they called? Wonka’s Nutty Crunch Surprise and Wonka’s  Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight.

Just wondering/Burning question:

 What do you think would have happened if Charlie had found the ticket two days after he did?

Next Book of the Week (13/May/2015 – 20/May/2015):

A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS: The Bad Beginning (Book the First) by Lemony Snicket

Akata Witch/What Sunny Saw in the Flames



Title: Akata Witch also ‘What Sunny Saw in the Flames’

Author: Nnedi Okoroafor

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press

Age: 10+

Number of pages: 229

Available here:

Price: N 800; $11.72


Akata Witch is a GREAT BOOK, one that I’d read again and again. It’s about an Igbo girl, Sunny who moved back to Nigeria from the US and discovered that she could see into the future. This marked the beginning of her journey into the world of the Leopard People. Sunny discovered she had magical powers, made friends with Orlu, Chi Chi and Sasha and trained as part of a team to stop Black Hat Otokoto and Ekwensu from destroying the world.

Thumbs Up: The river creature, Leopard Knocks (the West African Headquarters for the Leopard People), the mentors (Anatov, Kehinde, Taiwo and Sugar Cream) as well as the explosive tainted pepper soup, chittimtungwa, walking books, spirit faces and wasp artists make this book a fascinating read. Truly unputdownable!

Thumbs Down: It ended abruptly. I had waited so long for the show down, you know, the ‘last fight’ that I was quite disappointed that the fight with Ekwensu was over in seconds.

Rating: Five Stars


  1. In the last chapter, Sunny’s wasp artist built a man that looked like ………
  2. What currency did the Leopard people use?
  3. How did Sunny give Jibaku a good scare?
  4. What would happen if you put the following ingredients in the Tainted Pepper Soup? a. small tomatoes b. chicken c. chicken magi cubes d. not perfectly round onions
  5. What was Sunny’s Mentor’s called?
  6. What exploded over Sunny’s head in Leopard Knocks?
  7. What was the title of the slim, green book with tiny black legs, that taught Sunny lots of things about the Leopard people?


  6. TUNGWA: A floating bag of warm wet air containing teeth, bone, red chunks of raw, rotten meat and tufts of hair. Yuck!

Read an excerpt from the book here:

Visit its website here:

Next Book of the Week (06/May/2015 – 12/May/2015):



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Registration for The Reading House Africa Reality TV Show is OPEN!!!

The READING HOUSE is a TV reality program that is designed to excellently cultivate, improve and sustain the reading culture in the African child. It is a search for the reader of the year within the age range of 6-12.

Deadline for registration: June 19, 2015

Registration fee: N7,000 (Seven Thousand Naira only)


Grand Prize: N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira) or $24,000 (Twenty Four Thousand US Dollars)
1st Runner-up: $1,000 (One Thousand US Dollars)
Other contestants ‘Bookmates’: Certificate of Participation

Eligibility requirements

Age range: 6-12 years

Applicants must be  enrolled in an African Primary School.

Read more here: