Monthly Archives: November 2015

Chicken in the Kitchen


Title: Chicken in The Kitchen

Author: Nnedi Okoroafor

Publisher: Lantana Publishing

Number of pages: 32

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age: 2 – 8

Available here:

Price: GBP 6.99 (book) GBP 4.99 (epub/e-book)


‘What would you do if you woke up one night to find the shadow of a giant chicken passing your bedroom door?’

I would pull my wrapper/duvet over my head, squeeze my eyes shut and pretend I didn’t see it, so it would go away. But unlike me, Anyaugo’s a courageous little girl. She got up to  investigate!

And she did find a giant chicken in the kitchen making a huge mess! Anyaugo had to save all the yam dishes her mum and auntie had prepared for the New Yam Festival from the angry chicken but she needed help! Enter her friend the wood wit! With his help, she discovered out that the giant chicken in the kitchen had a sunny, shiny smile, could dance and was much more than just a smiling dancing chicken. Read the book to find out how Anyaugo saved the dishes from the chicken, danced with it and saw it the following day at the New Yam Festival!


UP: It is beautifully illustrated. The illustrations bring Nnedi’s words to life!! I was thrilled to pieces by the illustration on the penultimate page because it reminded me so much of home, of watching masquerades perform and looking at throngs of excited spectators walk the streets during festive periods, from the safety of my grandparent’s balcony.

This book makes learning fun for kids by showing a lot about the Nigerian culture through the eyes of a curious and courageous little girl and a giant dancing chicken. Kids will learn about the New Yam Festival, masquerades, spirits and yam dishes common to the Igbos of Southern Nigeria.

Another highlight was the wood wit. I loved it. That guy was very silly. One of my favourite lines from the book was his: “Ask it … But ask it in Chickenese”

I recommend this book for kids with a thirst for African literature or even just a little bit of adventure in their lives.

DOWN: None


4.5 Stars


  1. Ask your child to spot 1 animal that pops up in the illustrations but isn’t mentioned in the book.

a. a cat

  1. Ask your child to list four features of the New Yam Festival mentioned in the book.

a. masquerades. b. yam dishes c. spirits d. yams


  1. Find out the origin of this story here:
  1. Team the reading experience with a yam-tasting fete. Try (Introduce your child to) as many Nigerian yam dishes as possible: Yam porridge, fried yam, boiled yam, yamarita, pounded yam and soup and of course the signature yam dish for the New Yam Festival: Roasted yam with palm oil, dried fish and ugba/ukpaka (oil bean).

CHALLENGE: Chicken in the Kitchen


  1. List 3 yam dishes eaten by the Igbos of South-East, Nigeria. Make a collage of pictures of these dishes. (4 – 5 year olds)


  1. Draw (and name) 3 masquerades commonly found in Nigeria. Make a collage of pictures of these masquerades. (6 – 8 year olds)

Send your answers to

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Wednesday, December 2nd 2015

Sneak Peak

Next Book of the Week:


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photo credit:

Winner: Last Week’s Challenge 4-8


Challenge: Handa’s Surprise

Winner: RHEMA AGBOGA, 5 years old

Rhema will win a copy of the book, Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne

Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants


Title: Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants

Author: Dav Pilkey

Publisher: Scholastic

Number of pages: 160

Type of Book: Fiction; Graphic Novel

Age: 7 – 10

Available here:

Price: N2000; $5.99


This is one of the quirkiest books I have EVER read! George and Harold are two friends who like to ‘liven things up’ and inadvertently get into a LOT of trouble. In this book, they drive their new science teacher, maniacal mad-scientist, Professor Poopypants crazy and he decides to take over the world in the funniest/silliest way possible. Read it to find out how George, Harold and Captain Underpants try to stop Professor Poopypants and his perilous plan.


UP: The Flip-O-Rama!!! I love books with activities for readers. It makes them more interactive and automatically more interesting. I also loved the fact that George and Harold wrote, photocopied and sold comic books to their schoolmates. This brought back pleasant memories of primary school. I made good money from my classmates by selling my stories to them every week! Another highlight was the fact that the book introduces a moral in a very subtle way. It encourages kids/people not to laugh at other people. I also loved the names of the citizens of New SwissLand.

DOWN: It was a bit too silly.


4 Stars


  1. Who was Captain Underpants, the underwear-wearing super hero? Krupp, the Principal of Jerome Horwitz Elementary School.    
  2. Why did Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants get so angry that he went crazy? Because George and Harold made a comic book that made fun of him.
  3. What was the perilous plot of Professor Poopypants? To take over the world and get everyone to change their names so that everyone would have silly names like him.
  4. What is the moral of the story? It’s not nice to make fun of people.
  5. Why did Mr. Fyde the science teacher resign? Because he thought he was going crazy.
  6. How did George and Harold get back at their teachers and principal for laughing at them and stopping them from going on the field trip? They went into the teacher’s lounge, taped the tap’s spray handle on the ‘on’ position, poured powdered soap flakes on the blades of the ceiling fan, and filled the fridge with white Styrofoam pellets. When the teachers came back into the lounge and turned the tap and fan on, they were first soaked, then covered with soapy powder which soon turned to paste because of the water and then when the fridge was opened, the fan blew the foam pellets all over the room and they landed on the teacher’s sticky bodies, making them look like a group of giant evil snowmen.

Visit George, Harold and Captain Underpants here: and here:

CHALLENGE: Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants  


  1. What is a Flip-O-Rama? Write a 400-word essay


  1. Make a Flip-O-Rama.


            1a. OR 2a. What is the chapter after the chapter before the last chapter?

Send your answers to (NB: If you make a Flip-O-Rama, take a picture of your Flip-O-Rama and send it to the email address above)

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 7 – 10 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 29th 2015

Next Book of the Week:



Dorky DiaperLips (My new name courtesy of Professor Poopypants)




Handa’s Surprise

Title: Handa’s Surprise

Author: Eileen Browne

Publisher: Farafina/Walker Books

Number of pages: 32 (24 of the actual story)

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age: 3 – 6

Available here:;

Price: N350; GBP 5.99


‘Handa put seven delicious fruits in a basket for her friend, Akeyo. She will be surprised, thought Handa as she set off for Akeyo’s village.’

However, as Handa walked to Akeyo’s village, seven animals stole all seven fruits from Handa’s basket without her knowledge! Read the book to find out how both Handa and Akeyo were surprised when Handa arrived at Akeyo’s village with a basket full of fruits!!


UP: It is a fun way for children to learn a little bit about Kenya. It gives an insight into the life of people of the Luo tribe of South-West Kenya. Its vibrant illustrations show fruits and animals common to this part of Kenya. With a few exceptions, these fruits and animals also make up the flora and fauna of Nigeria.

I especially like the fact that this book can be read to toddlers (1-3), while early independent readers (4-6 year olds) can read it on their own.

DOWN: None


5 Stars


  1. Ask your child to spot 5 animals that pop up in the illustrations but aren’t mentioned in the book. 

(a.) cows (b.) lizards (c.) a snake (d.) chickens (e.) a dog

  1. Ask your child to spot 4 insects that pop up in the illustrations but aren’t mentioned in the book.

(a.) bugs. (b.) flies. (c.) butterflies. (d.) grasshoppers. NB: Spiders are not insects


  1. Watch a video of the Handa’s Surprise song here:
  1. Team the reading experience with a fruit-tasting fete AND/OR making animal sounds

CHALLENGE: Handa’s Surprise


  1. List 10 animals commonly found in Nigeria 


  1. Draw 10 insects commonly found in Nigeria

Send your answers to

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 6 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Thursday, November 26th 2015

Next Book of the Week:






Ivy and Bean Book 1


Title: Ivy and Bean Book 1

Author: Annie Barrow

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Number of pages: 120

Type of Book: Fiction; Contemporary

Age: 8+

Available here:

Price: $4.13


Ivy and Bean didn’t like each other very much at first. Maybe because their mothers always tried to get them to play with each other. Maybe because they were so different. Ivy was every bit as ladylike as Bean was an unrepentant tomboy. One day, Bean got into trouble and Ivy came to her rescue and they found out that they had a lot in common. And so their exciting friendship began. Together, they got into all sorts of mischief and misadventures, from digging up earthworms to make potions, to trying to make Ivy look like a real witch, to trying to cast a spell on Bean’s annoying big sister, Nancy and pretending to be sick in Mrs. Trantz’s backyard. An award-winning book for girls who love to laugh.


UP: It had a feel-good ending. It was also fast-paced. I read it in a day and then ended up buying the next book in the series and the one after that. It’s well written and very easy to read. I would recommend to kids (especially girls) who have just started reading on their own. Oh yes, and it made me smile, a lot.

DOWN: None


4 Stars 


  1. Why did Ivy and Bean dig a big muddy pit in Ivy’s backyard? To find earthworms.
  2. What did they need the earthworms for? To cast a dancing spell on Bean’s sister Nancy.
  3. What became of the earthworms Ivy and Bean dug up? Bean threw them on Nancy’s face! Some fell into her shirt, some got stuck in her hair and one fell right into her mouth!
  4. What became of the big muddy pit? Nancy fell into it!
  5. Why did Bean think Ivy’s room was cool? Because it was divided into five sections by thick chalk lines drawn on the floor and each section looked like a different room.
  6. The five sections of Ivy’s room: A dressing room, a doll room, a bedroom, an art studio and a reading room. 

BONUS: What item did Ivy need for her invisibility spell? A dead frog!

Visit Ivy and Bean here:

CHALLENGE: Ivy and Bean Book 1


  1. The benefits of reading. Write a short 300-word essay


  1. Draw a picture of the Ivy’s room using the information in Trivia Answers 5 and 6.


  1. Write a poem on ‘Mischief’.

Send your answers to

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8-12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.  

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Tuesday, November 24th2015

Next Book of the Week:





New Release

The last quarter of this year has brought with it some really good books written by indigenous authors: veteran fantasy writer, Nnedi Okoroafor; cheeky Okechukwu Ofili of and, and newbie Nnamdi Anyadu. Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okoroafor will be one of the picture books reviewed this month in honour of the ‘November is Picture Book Month’ initiative. I have just acquired Chicken in the Kitchen and I eagerly await my copy of Afro: The Girl with the Magical Hair by Okechukwu Ofili. Anyadu’s The Forgotten Fables is yet to hit bookstores. Expect reviews of the first two books before the end of the month. Until then, brief information on the books is provided below.

Chicken-in-the-Kitchen-Cover-Image-300x300Title: CHICKEN IN THE KITCHEN 

Author: Nnedi Okoroafor

Publisher: Lantana Publishing

Release Date: October, 2015

Summary by Publisher

What would you do if you woke up one night to find the shadow of a giant chicken passing your bedroom door? Go and investigate of course! When Anyaugo follows a giant chicken into her kitchen one warm night in Nigeria, she embarks on a hilarious adventure where nothing is quite as it seems. Is the nature spirit that lives in the wooden walls of her house a help or a hindrance? Is the mischievous giant chicken a friend or a foe? Most importantly, will Anyaugo be able to save the food her aunties have cooked for the New Yam Festival the next day? World Fantasy Award-winning author Nnedi Okoroafor provides us with a hugely entertaining look at the fascinating masquerade culture of West Africa, told from the perspective of a plucky young Nigerian girl who finds the courage to protect the traditions she loves.

Afro---The-Girl-with-the-Magical-Hair-3677542_1Title: AFRO: THE GIRL WITH THE MAGICAL HAIR 

Author: Okechukwu Ofili

Publisher: Farafina Tuuti

Release Date: 2015

Summary by Publisher 

When the people of Yackiland run out of Kanek weaves, the kingdom is thrown into chaos. Ruled by an evil, straight hair-obsessed queen for so many years, the people of Yackiland have forgotten how to grow their own hair. It is up to Afro, the girl with magical hair, to save the kingdom. But the queen has plans of her own…

Coming Soon … 

12122434_10153023574180448_323645080768838097_nTitle: THE FORGOTTEN FABLES

Author: Nnamdi Anyadu

Publisher: Jungle Urchin

Release Date: Coming Soon

New book by new author Nnamdi Anyadu and a new publishing house for children’s books, Jungle Urchin.

Sign up for alerts to know when this book becomes available.


Ugo :–)



The Time Machine


Title: The Time Machine

Author: H. G. Wells

Publisher: Bendon Classics

Number of pages: 178

Type of Book: Science Fiction; Classic

Age: 10+

Available here: The Hub, The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki, Lagos;

Price: N880; $6.66


The time traveller’s theory: If our minds can move back and forth in time, we can too. All we need is the right math and the right invention.”

Armed with the right math and the right invention, the Time Traveller (TT) travelled hundreds of thousand of years into the future to find a new earth, as beautiful during the day as it was scary at night. The care-free, little, pretty and doll-like lazy people, the Upper-worlders, called the Eloi, laughed a lot, danced with him and gave him fruits to eat but it was the terrors of the night, the Morlocks, the ape-like Under-worlders who stole his time machine and tried to kill and eat him time and time again, who nearly made him lose his mind. Find out if the future was indeed all the TT hoped it would be and whether or not he made his way home after his time machine disappeared!


UP: Wells paints a picture of a picturesque yet gruesome world with his words. His description of the form and lives of the Eloi and the Morlocks make the book come alive for readers. Thanks to the Morlocks, there were some pretty creepy/scary scenes in this book, in fact, The Morlocks made this book for me! For a sci-fi book that was written in the 17th century, this book is fantastic. It’s small wonder that Wells is considered one of the Fathers of Sci-Fi.

DOWN: None


4 Stars: if one takes into consideration the year of publication – 1895; 3 Stars: if written today.


  1. What extraordinary thing could the Time Traveller’s Time Machine do? It could travel back and forth through time!
  2. Did any of the Time Traveller’s dinner guests believe his stories? Not one!
  3. Who/What were the Morlocks? They were carnivorous, white, ape-like creatures with large greyish red-eyes that lived in the Under-world in 802,701 A.D.
  4. Why were the Eloi scared of the Morlocks? Because the Morlocks ate the Eloi for dinner!
  5. The Time Traveller found these when he went further into the far future? Monstrous table-sized crab-like creatures with many legs, big slime-covered claws, gleaming evil eyes, long slimy feelers and huge hungry mouths.
  6. What did the Time Traveller have as proof of his journey to the future? Two strange white flowers given to him by his little Eloi friend Weena.

Read it here:

CHALLENGE: The Time Machine

Compare and contrast Time Machines and Time Capsules

Send your answers to

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8-12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Tuesday, November 24th. 

Next Book of the Week:

IVY + BEAN: BOOK ONE by Annie Barrows

Zahrah the Windseeker


Title: Zahrah the Windseeker

Author: Nnedi Okoroafor-Mbachu

Publisher: Farafina Books/ HMH Books for Young Readers

Number of pages: 320/308

Type of Book: Fantasy, Fiction; African

Age: 10+

Available here:;

Price: N500; $7.51


Zahrah is a 13-year-old girl born with dadalocks in a kingdom where people with dadalocks are looked upon as strange. She is quiet, shy, constantly bullied and afraid of heights. All these change when one night, Zahrah finds herself floating off her bed. Her quest for knowledge eventually leads her and her best friend Dari, into the Forbidden Greeny Jungle where Dari is bitten by a war snake whose venom sends him into a coma. Only the serum from an unfertilized elgort egg can save Dari’s life. Zahrah has four weeks to enter the depths of the Forbidden Greeny Jungle to find and steal an unfertilized egg from an elgort, the fastest, most vicious animal in the Jungle.


UP: Everything!! Again, Nnedi kept me up till 4am. I read this book some seven years ago and it made a huge impression on me!! It was a pleasure to read again! And I will definitely read it some more in the future! Nnedi Okoroafor’s imagination is out of this world. Her use of language is fantastic! Her story world is described in such detail that the reader is easily sucked into it! Zahrah the Windseeker is African Magical realism at its best!!! The plot, the characters were so well fleshed out but the highlight of the book for me: The Setting!!

The book is set in the Ooni Kingdom, a kingdom that is dominated by plants. The houses are made of plants, the towers and sky scrapers as well, the computers are plants, the currency of the day: flowers, even the medical equipment (heart monitors) are plants. Other highlights were the Dark Market (with the drawing baboons, live vultures, fortune-tellers, personal pepper seeds, dog-sized toads, etc.) and the Forbidden Greeny Jungle (with the flesh-eating plants, the Speculating Speckled Frog: a shiny pink frog with gold speckles and the ability to answer all questions, a human-sized scorpion with a poisoned whip for a tail, talking panthers, a two-headed green tortoise the size of a large car, thieving bush cows, etc.)

One of my best lines from the book: ‘Fear landed on my shoulder like a heavy bloodsucking masquerade’ Such imagery!

DOWN: None


5 Stars


  1. Who were the Windseekers? They were dada-born people born with the ability to fly.  
  2. How did Zahrah escape the giant scorpion and its poisoned whip? The enormous car-sized, two-headed tortoise with eyes as big as dinner plates appeared out of nowhere, smashed the scorpion to death and feasted on its body!
  3. What are elgorts? Elgorts are described as the ultimate killing machines. With enormous trunks lined with sharp teeth and the ability to fell whole trees while in motion and eat their prey (even humans) in three crunches, they are the fastest and deadliest animals in the Forbidden Greeny Jungle.
  4. Why did people grow their own personal peppers? To become socially spicy: more attractive and more popular.
  5. The first man Zahrah met when she went to the Dark Market? A one-eyed man with cornrows, selling live vultures.
  6. “ … From the information you typed into me, you are a thirteen-year-old girl who seeks to find an unfertilized elgort egg for your friend? … Then you are truly mad” Who/What said this? Zahrah’s talking compass.

Read an excerpt here

CHALLENGE: Zahrah the Windseeker


  1. What is Nsibidi? Write a short 400-word essay


  1. Draw a picture of the Dark Market using the details in Chapter 4 of the Book.


  1. Write a poem on ‘Bullying’.

Send your answers to

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 10-12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book and a copy of ‘Akata Witch’ by the same author.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Tuesday, November 17th 2015

Next Book of the Week: