Title: Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London I
Author: Segilola Salami
Publisher: Segilola Publishing
Number of pages: 64
Type of Book: Fiction
This is a book of Nigerian folktales but it’s not just another book of folktales. These folktales are told by a 6-month old baby who gets them as bedtime stories from her mother. Yetunde is not the average 6-month old. She is a precocious 6-month old Yoruba baby living with her mummy in London and this book is her diary. Each chapter begins with a narration of a day in Yetunde’s life and ends with a folktale. Her unique perspective on daily adult activities is amusing and thought-provoking at the same time. The folktales are the icing on the cake. The book has five chapters with five stories each, some of which many moms will remember.
Read the book to find out how tortoise broke its shell, how it used a drum to create a feast for its village, how he tried to become the wisest animal in the world, etc.
Read it to take a trip down memory lane and give it to your child to read to learn a thing or two about Nigerian folktales and how they’re told. Of course, the chief protagonist in every Nigerian folktale (Tortoise) is present and in grand style too! A good read for every member of the family.
THUMBS UP AND DOWN
UP: This book made me smile. I remembered the first time I heard the story ‘How Tortoise broke its shell’ and how hard I laughed at the birds until they took their feathers from Tortoise. If you heard a lot of folktales as a child, you definitely heard this one. This folktale made the rounds.
The book also made me think of the fact that my kids really need to hear our Nigerian folktales. Sometimes, we’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to pass some of these wonderful things that were a natural part of our lives to our children.
The use of Yoruba was wonderful. This was one of the major highlights! I love reading books in indigenous Nigerian languages. We don’t have enough of those!!!!
Baby Yetunde’s diary sets this book apart from other folktales and gives it a certain quirkiness that I like.
For non-Nigerians, it shows a lot of the Nigerian culture, especially for modern day Nigerians. There’s a little bit on music, (reference to Lagbaja and Flavour), food (fried plantains and chicken stew), the folktales (of course) and the language. For Nigerians, we’ll see a lot of ourselves in the lives of Yetunde and her mum.
The illustrations though sparse were exquisite!!!
One of my favorite sentences: “Mama can go from a trendy professional Londoner to Iya Alata (a pepper seller) in 0 to 10 seconds. She’s hardcore like that.” The sentence before that was hilarious! I laughed until I cried.
DOWN: There were some minor downs. There was a bit of Nigerian English here and there, the use of a swear word and some other words that would likely make my kids ask me questions I may not want to answer. I believe it was a reference to a mother’s breasts going south, something I totally understood and found funny but will not be in a hurry to explain to a child. The text wasn’t justified so it made reading visually annoying for me. The addition of the Yoruba language was a plus and a minus. As much as I love the idea of writing in our native language, the inability to understand the language was a mini-downer for me as in some cases, there were whole blocks of text in Yoruba and no immediate translation. Fortunately, the translations were added in the last section of the book so the reader isn’t left hanging.
All in all, it was a good read. I would recommend to anyone who loves the idea of Nigerian folktales with a twist!
- Story 1: How did Tortoise outsmart the birds? By taking on a new name: All of You
- Story 2: Why did the scorpion sting the frog in spite of the fact that he knew that this would make them drown? Because it’s in his nature to sting.
- Story 3: Oluronbi made a promise she couldn’t keep. What was it? She promised to give the spirit that lived in the Iroko tree her first child.
- Story 4: Why did Tortoise want to be the wisest animal in the world? He wanted other animals to come to him for advice so he’d charge them and become very wealthy.
- Story 5: How did Tortoise become the chief in his town? He gave all the animals in the village food daily from his drum.
Watch the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCMv4wU5sHI
CHALLENGE: Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London
CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)
- What is a folktale? Write a short 400-word essay
- Write a 400-word story in your native language.
- Write a 400-word short essay on a theme that was common to all the stories: ‘Keeping your word’
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Sunday, February 7th, 2016.
Next Book of the Week:
AGES 4 – 8: MAGIC TREEHOUSE: DINOSAURS BEFORE DARK by Mary Pope Osbourne
AGES 8 – 12: LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May-Alcott