Tag Archives: Creative Non-fiction

Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #31: China – Land of the Emperor’s Great Wall



Title: Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #31: China – Land of the Emperor’s Great Wall

Author: Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Number of pages: 128

Type of Book: Non-Fiction

Age: 8+

Buy it here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magic-tree-house-fact-tracker-31-mary-pope-osborne/1119054505?ean=9780385386357; http://www.randomhousekids.com/books/detail/236086-magic-tree-house-fact-tracker-31-china-land-of-the-emperors-great-wall?isbn=9780385386357

Price: $5.99


This book is the 31st in the Magic Tree House series, an adventure series that takes siblings, Jack and Annie on exciting journeys through time to discover the wonders of the world. Read my review of the first book in this series, Dinosaurs Before Dark here. This book is the non-fiction companion to Magic Tree House #14: Day of the Dragon King. In #14, siblings Jack and Annie visit China during the reign of the Dragon King. This book provides background information to #14. It offers a wealth of information on Chinese history. Readers learn that the Dragon King, Qin Shihuandi united all the states/cities in China and became its first Emperor. He had a burial ground the size of a small city. He was buried with 8,000 terra cotta soldiers to guard his tomb, war chariots, terra cotta horses and lots of weapons (swords, spears and cross bars). Readers also learn how the Chinese invented paper and silk (and refused to share the secret of silk production for about 2,000 years!) This book also introduces readers to the great Chinese Dynasties, philosophers, festivals and the Chinese Language. Does your child know that Mandarin, the official language in China, (and not English) is the most widely spoken language in the world?


UP: Everything!! This book could easily have been titled, ‘All You Need to Know About China for Kids’. I loved absolutely everything about it. It’s a valuable resource/ reference tool on all things China for kids (adults too!) with all sorts of information ranging from Chinese festivals (New Year, Moon, Kite, Dragon Boat, etc.) to delicacies (rice, frog legs, chicken feet, etc.) and inventions (paper, silk, tea bag, porcelain, compass).

It’s filled with fun facts, photographs and illustrations. It also provides pronunciation guides for some Chinese words e.g. Xie Xie (SHE – ah SHE – ah) meaning ‘Thank You’. The book also has some pointers on how to conduct research in libraries, museums and using books and the internet! I cannot say how much I love this series. I HIGHLY recommend this book for boys and girls between the age of 7 and 12. The Magic Tree House series has sold more than 100 million books world wide! A testament to its value.

DOWN: None!!!!! 


5 Stars


  1. What percentage of the world’s population lives in China? 20%.
  2. Chinese rulers and Egyptian Pharaohs have this in common? They are buried with things they would need for the afterlife such as weapons, food, clothes, jewelry, etc.
  3. China is about the size of ……? The USA!
  4. This has formed a basic part of the Chinese diet for thousands of years: Rice
  5. The most famous Chinese Philosopher?
  6. Fast facts about the Great Wall of China: The first wall was built by the first Emperor of China. It took 12 years to complete and it was 1,500 miles long. 400,000 men died while building this wall. It was also called ‘The Cemetery Wall’. The Great Wall was built in the 16th Century and it is 5,500 miles long.

Visit Jack and Annie here: www.magictreehouse.com

Look inside: http://insight.randomhouse.com/widget/v2/?width=600&isbn=9780385386357&author=OSBORNE%2C%20MARY%20POPE&title=China%3A%20Land%20of%20the%20Emperor%26%2339%3Bs%20Great%20Wall

CHALLENGE: Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #31: China – Land of the Emperor’s Great Wall


  1. Write a 600-word essay on any of the following: a. Chinese Terra-cotta Soldiers, b. The Great Wall of China, c. The Chinese New Year (8 – 9 year olds)


  1. Write a 1000-word essay on any of the following: a. Confucius, b. The Himalayas, c. The Dragon King (10-12 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

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, June 26th 2016.


I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post.

Xie Xie


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Green Eggs and Ham


Title: Green Eggs and Ham

Author: Dr. Seuss

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Number of pages: 62

Type of Book: Fiction; Classic (first published in 1960)

Age: 3-5

Buy it here: https://www.laternabooks.com/laterna_product_details.php?v=13332&c=111;


Price: N850; $5.00


In the book, Sam-I-am, a little boy pesters a man to eat a plate of green eggs and ham. He follows the man around the house with the plate trying to convince him to try the eggs and ham but the man adamantly refuses.

“Do you like green eggs and ham?

I do not like them Sam-I-am

I do not like green eggs and ham”

Sam-I-am offers different options;

Would you eat them in a house?

Would you eat hem with a mouse?

Read the book to find out if Sam-I-am was able to convince the man to try the green eggs and ham!


UP: Humor!! Kids will have a good laugh at the poor man who Sam-I-Am pesters. Rhyme!! The book is written in classic Dr. Seuss rhyme and the story can be sung. It’s just like a funny poem. Best of all, it’s such a fun lesson on the power of perseverance. Kids quickly learn that like Sam-I-am, they can overcome obstacles and achieve their goals if they don’t give up. I recommend this book for ALL little boys and girls. In the words of a dear friend of mine, “If this book is not in your child’s library, you’re sleeping on a moving bicycle”

DOWN: None


5 Stars


  1. This book is the fourth-best selling children’s book of all time written in English Language![1]
  2. Only 50 words are used in the whole book![2]


CHALLENGE: Green Eggs and Ham


  1. Identify and colour the eggs and ham (3 year olds)


  1. Spot 5 differences between the two pictures (4 – 5 year olds)


Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 3 – 5 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, March 22nd 2015.

Next Book of the Week:

CAT IN THE HAT by Dr. Seuss



[1] “All-Time Bestselling Children’s Books”. Publishers Weekly. 17 December 2001. Archived from the original on December 25, 2005.

[2] “10 stories behind Dr. Seuss stories”. CNN. January 23, 2009. Retrieved March 18th 2016


Wangari’s Trees of Peace

March 3rd is Wangari Maathai Day/Africa Environment Day.

Wangari Maathai was the first woman to earn a Doctorate degree in East Africa and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize but she’s best remembered as the woman who motivated Kenyan women to plant over 300 million trees in Kenya. Wangari’s Trees of Peace tells Wangari’s story in a simple way making it quite easy for children to read.

Africa Environment Day was established by the Organization for African Unity (OAU) to raise awareness about the environmental problems in Africa.

To commemorate this day, we have changed the book of the week to Wangari’s Trees of Peace. The Emperor’s New Clothes will be reviewed next week.


Title: Wangari’s Trees of Peace

Author: Jeanette Winter

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Number of pages: 32

Type of Book: Creative Non-Fiction; Contemporary, Series

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Wangaris-Trees-Peace-Story-Africa/dp/0152065458

Price: $15.07


Wangari grew up near Mount Kenya. There were lots of trees and different types of birds to see everyday. She had the typical rural African childhood. She went to the farm, to plant and harvest sweet potatoes, maize, etc.; she fetched firewood for cooking, etc. Wanagari loved Kenya. But she had to leave because she got a scholarship to study in the United States.

When Wangari returned, many years later, there were no more trees in and around her home. She was worried that Kenya would become a dessert since people were cutting down trees without planting new ones.

Read the book to find out how Wangari saved Kenya from becoming a dessert and how she grew millions of trees in a few years.


UP: It’s an inspiring story and will help children see that one person can make a difference in the world.

DOWN: It has a bit of violence: “They hit her with clubs” and this line is followed by an image of people hitting a lady with clubs and droplets of blood falling from her forehead.


5 Stars


  • Wangari used these to change the world around her. Trees! 


Team the reading experience with a visit to http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/wangari-maathai to learn more about Wangari Maathai.

CHALLENGE: Wangari’s Trees of Peace


  • Plant a seedling in a garden at home or in school this week. Write a short 300 word essay on the planting process and take a picture (7-8 year olds)


  • Draw (and name) two trees you see everyday. (4-6 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

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, March 9th 2016.

Next Book of the Week:

THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES by Hans Christian Andersen




How to Build Your Own Country


Title: How to Build Your Own Country

Author: Valerie Wyatt

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press/Kids Can Press

Number of pages: 40

Type of Book: Contemporary, Fiction

Age: 8+

Available here: http://www.cassavarepublic.biz/products/how-to-build-your-own-countryhttp://www.amazon.com/How-Build-Your-Country-CitizenKid/dp/1554533104

Price: N800; $13.85


Imagine having your own country! Better still, imagine having your own country and having it named after yourself! The Federal Republic of Ugochinyelu J Impossible right? Think again!!

Valerie Wyatt says building your own country is easy-peasy, as easy as 1 -2 – 3! All you have to do: 1. Stake your identity by creating your country’s flag, money and national anthem; 2. Run your country by holding elections, forming governments and making laws, etc., and 3. meet your neighbours and join organizations.

But is it really that easy? How will you find a population for your country, hold elections, make laws, create your own money and national anthem, write a constitution, etc.?

Read the book to find out!


UP: Humour. This is edutainment at its best. It is truly an excellent ‘How To’ guide for building a country especially for kids. It is packed with information on how to make laws, write a constitution, create passports, money, flags, etc. It also has a template for creating a national anthem. It is also filled with fun facts such as funny laws made in the world, the largest, smallest, poorest and richest countries in the world, etc.  A valuable reference tool for teachers and parents on the subject of civic education.

Replete with fun filled projects, it is the perfect book to keep your kids (boys and girls alike) busy for an entire weekend at the very least.

The illustrations are fantastic! They add to the general quirkiness of the book.

DOWN:  None. Warning! There is an image of a decapitated head of state.


5 Stars 


  1. How old was the youngest person who started a micronation? 5 years old! Eric Lis started a micronation called the Aerican Empire in 1987. It boasts over 400 citizens!
  2. In 2006, Duncan MacDonald cast his vote in an election. The problem? Duncan is a dog!
  3. A funny law made in Thailand: It is illegal to leave your house if you’re not wearing underwear!
  4. How to name your country after yourself? Chop off he last bit of your name (first or last) and add ‘a’ or ‘ia’ OR tack on ‘land’ or ‘stan’.
  5. How to create your own national anthem? Use words like “glory, freedom, victory, honour” and pick a catchy tune like ‘Old MacDonald’s Has a Farm’ or ‘Walking on Sunshine’

Read an excerpt here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0103/7312/files/Excerpts_for_website_Pages_from_HowToBuildYourOwnCountry_2029_Text_17022013_5_10.pdf?3662

Watch the book trailer here:

CHALLENGE: How to Build Your Own Country


  1. Write short 75-word paragraphs on the following forms of government. Plus: countries that have these forms of government. a. Oligarchy b. Democracy c. Theocracy d. Autocracy e. Single Party


  1. Build your own country.

Create samples of your Passport, Money, Flag and National Anthem (plus tune)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

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, March 6th 2016.

Next Book of the Week: 











Fela Anikulapo Kuti


Title:  Fela Anikulapo Kuti   

Author: Ola Ajibola

Publisher: Lantern Books                            

Number of pages: 126        

Type of Book: Creative Non-fiction

Age: 10+

Available here: https://www.lantern-books.com/book_inner.php?mid=12&cat=121&cat_id=122 and other major bookshops.

Price: N400


This book is a beautiful account of the life of Afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. It shows interesting details from his birth, his early childhood with strict parents and his career as a musician, to his rise to fame as the King of Afro beats and the voice of the Nigerian people in the fight against oppression and corruption in the 1980s. It details an important slice of Nigerian history in a fictitious/fictional and appealing manner. The perfect summer read for the child with a love for history.


UP: The description of the antics of the young Fela, the attacks on Fela’s home, Kalakuta Republic and the story behind most of the songs he released in the 1980s made this a pleasurable read. Another plus was the fact that the book features a glossary for complex words and a page filled with questions – for the parent who would like to ensure their child read the book. *wink

DOWN: The book was so badly written. The author seemed to write in ‘Nigerian’ English. “What a fool I have been all these while”, “He then started asking questions and was getting the right and convincing answers” “He fixed a cold gaze at the minister who still refused to mind him” “He saw that musicians will be the ones ruling the world …”, to list but a few. It is almost inappropriate for children who wish to learn proper use of English. I’m not sure whom to blame, the author, the editor(s), or the publisher. Maybe all of them really. It was also ridden with grammatical errors.


4 stars

I have rated it 4 stars in spite of these errors because it captures the life of a legend in a truly beautiful way.


  1. Why did Fela play music? He played music because he wanted to be the voice of the people and to stop oppression and other societal vices in Nigeria.
  2. How many wives did Fela marry in one day. 27 wives
  3. What course did Fela’s parents want him to study and what did he eventually study: Medicine and Music
  4. What were the first and last names of Fela’s band: Koola Lobitos and Egypt 80
  5. How did Fela stop Billy the bully? He shot stones at him many times with his catapult until Billy bled and had to have his head bandaged.
  6. What programme is held every year in honor of Fela’s memory? Felabration

CHALLENGE: Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Are you a true history buff? How well do you know Fela? Can you answer the question below:

Fela’s communal compound, Kalakuta Republic was located at ………………………. (give the address in full)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

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 Thursday, August 20th.

Next Book of the Week: