Jelly Baby


Title:  Jelly Baby

Author: Phillip Begho

Publisher: Monarch Books                          

Number of pages: 112        

Type of Book: Fiction

Age: 8+

Available here: or borrow at the ZODML library, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Price: N200


Imagine a special war camp, crawling with soldiers but made especially for teenage boys on a top-secret assignment. There is an air of secrecy, the boys have no idea why they are there and one of fear, as the boys await the arrival of their much-feared would-be teacher.

This is where Jelly Baby is set. A group of 12 boys between the age of 8 and 10 is taken from different war camps for boys all over Sierra Leone and sent to a special war camp, Camp Bori-Bori. The boys soon found out that their top-secret assignment involved special sessions with the evil mind twister, Psycho Doctor who wanted to turn them into mini-killing machines. Immediately but separately, they make up their minds to escape.

But did they come up with a suitable plan and find out the spies among them before Psycho Doctor arrived at the camp? Did they ever get the chance to escape? Find out when you read the book.


UP: I had no expectations when I opened this book, In fact, part of me was worried it wouldn’t be a good book. Maybe this was because the author had churned out about one hundred books for children and I really wondered how good they could be. It was a fantastic read and I can attest to this because I had a terrible toothache and I still could not put the book down. I wrote this review in near darkness, my right eye half-closed as a result of the pain in my right cheek.

Begho took a tough subject about children and discussed it in an easy to understand manner without trivializing it. The characters (Jelly Baby, Neva SayDai, Nine Lives, NoTongue, Nott 4-Deyung, Warr IsBad, etc.) make the book come alive for the reader and the twists and turns keep you turning the pages till the end. I will recommend this book to all children and to the parents of children who would like their kids to learn a little bit of what the world is like for other African children.

DOWN: None!! Maybe it was too short.


4.5 stars


  1. Everyone in the camp was scared of him. Psycho Doctor.
  2. What was Bull Boy’s nickname for Jelly Baby? Sick Alimal (from animal)
  3. How did Jelly Baby get his name?
  4. Who were the Camp Bullies? Bull Boy and Trigger Kid
  5. Which boy blew his nose all the time? Zimboiboy
  6. Who were Jelly Baby’s pals? Neva SayDai and Live 4-Ever.


Write a 500-word essay on the following question:

What do you know about African Child Soldiers?

Send your answers to

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 9-12 age range. The best entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Tuesday 30th.

Next Book of the Week:

MATILDA by Roald Dahl

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