Tag Archives: Magic

The Adventures of Obi and Titi: Queen Idia’s Mask

Title: The Adventures of Obi and Titi: Queen Idia’s Mask

Author: O. T Begho

Publisher:  Evolution Media

Number of pages: 120

Type of Book: Fiction, adventure, African

Genre: Chapter Book

Age: 8 – 12

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Obi-Titi-Queen-Idias/dp/0955496640

Price: $9.99

MY SUMMARY

This book is the fourth in a chapter book series about Ancient Africa. In this book, Obi and Titi must warn Queen Kehinde that she is in imminent danger but their plans are continuously thwarted by assassins. With the help of a masked rider who turns out to be a young girl named Idia (named after Queen Idia) and her mask which helps her see a few minutes into the future, Obi and the Titi must overcome the tyrant Ezomo and a giant man-eating spider to get to the Queen.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: I struggled to find the highlights of this book because I was a bit offended by the disservice to Queen Idia. It was well-written and easy to read. It had some humourous bits and it does give a bit of insight into life in Ancient Yoruba land. It has all the makings of a good adventure series and would have been much better if it had left the African part out of it, rather than giving ambiguous information. It features a mini vocabulary list and another list of African facts.

DOWN: I struggled to get to the end of this book because I don’t know how to abandon a book halfway. I had bought this with the hope of adding to my research library on Queen Idia but I was sorely disappointed. First of all, Queen Idia was mentioned in about 8 out of 120 pages and the mask was a piece of wood with magical powers. I also feel like the facts were mixed up. Young readers will not be able to tell which bits of the story were fiction and which were nonfiction and the academic in me found that really stressful. There was a lot of telling and not enough showing but I guess I was particularly annoyed because I have a great deal of respect for Queen Idia and what the pendant mask represents and this book just basically trampled all over her. Matters came to a head when I found grammatical errors.

RATING

⭐️ ⭐️

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read an excerpt here: https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Obi-Titi-Queen-Idias/dp/0955496640 (use the Look Inside function)

CHALLENGE: The Adventures of Obi and Titi: Queen Idia’s Mask

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Write a 500-word essay on Queen Idia and the pendant mask.

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 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 29th 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

THE GREATEST ANIMAL IN THE JUNGLE by Sope Martins

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Beasts Made of Night

Title: Beasts Made of Night

Author: Tochi Onyebuchi

Publisher:  Razorbill

Number of pages: 295

Type of Book: Fiction, adventure, fantasy

Genre: Young Adult

Age: 13+

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Beasts-Made-Night-Tochi-Onyebuchi/dp/0448493918/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Price: $9.99

MY SUMMARY

Taj is the most talented aki in Kos, the best sin-eater in a town where sins are murderous beasts – inisisa – that make sinners sick until they’re drawn out from their bodies by mages and eaten by akis, where sin beasts leave tattoos on the bodies of the aki and drive them to madness before they get to adulthood, where the aki are treated as outcasts in spite of the fact that people depend on them to live, where even the royals depend on the aki they despise to maintain the premium placed on purity. When Taj eats the King’s sin, he becomes involved in a sinister plot that changes his life and threatens to destroy all he holds dear.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: This book is a masterpiece. It packs a mean punch with adventure, magic, humour, tragedy, light romance, great pacing, world building and imagery, the use of sensory language, the use of Igbo 😀 , a pseudo Nigerian setting, all in one story. It is YA fantasy at its best. Compared to most books in the same genre, it is short and sweet. I got it because it came highly recommended as mentor text for a novel I’m working on. I love it because it didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, it surpassed expectations.

Tochi is gifted with writing amazing scenes. This gift is pronounced in the action scenes in the book. He uses sensory language and amazing pacing to create scenes which suck you in and make you feel like they’re unfolding right before your eyes. I cannot rave fully about this book without giving spoilers. Spoiler alert: The arashi’s appearance was nothing short of MAGNIFICENT! I had goosebumps! I put the book down, shouted, picked it up and continued reading. 😀

Then the ending, oh my God, the ending!!! It ended with a cliff hanger. He got me!

Finally, the absolute best part of all of this: There’s more to come! Crown of Thunder, the sequel is available online.  

Here’s a paragraph where we’re introduced to our very first sin-beast:

I don’t even hear the doors close behind me, because the sin-beast rears up and roars in my face. I stare up at a massive lion, one of the biggest I’ve seen. The inisisa is formed of shadows so dark that it seems to suck all the light out of the room, even taking the glow from the daga in my hand. Its claws, inky tendrils of black, click against the floor tiles as it settles back on its enormous haunches. Sin made into living, breathing flesh by dark magic.

DOWN: It had a bit of the sagging middle syndrome. There was a brief lull in the story somewhere in the middle (or should I say the beginning of the middle😀 where I found myself struggling to avoid skipping whole paragraphs. I eventually understood why that section was necessary but it was much slower than the other sections of the book.

RATING

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read an excerpt here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/545186/beasts-made-of-night-by-tochi-onyebuchi/9780448493916/excerpt

CHALLENGE: Beasts Made of Night 

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Read the excerpt using the link above, then read the excerpt of Children of Blood and Bone in this post and compare the literary devices used by both writers.

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 13+ 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 22nd 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

THE ADVENTURES OF OBI AND TITI: QUEEN IDIA’S MASK by O. T Begho

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Children of Blood and Bone

Title: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Publisher: Ouida Books (2018) / Henry Holt and Co (BYR) (2018)

Number of pages: 531; 544

Type of Book: Adventure, African, African Mythology, Medieval, Fantasy,Fiction, Suspense/Thriller

Genre: YA (Young Adult)

Age: 13+

Available here: https://thebookmarketng.com/product/children-of-blood-and-bone/https://www.amazon.com/Children-Blood-Bone-Legacy-Orisha/dp/1250170974

Price: N4500; $12.73

MY SUMMARY

It starts with a quest, because all books with elements of magic, mystery and mythology must have quests. 

Zelie, her brother and their enemy-turned-friend, princess Amari go on a quest to bring magic back to Orïsha. Amari’s father, the tyrannical King of Orïsha, believes that magic is the source of all evil so he banishes magic. He destroys all the relics and temples of the gods and kills all the magi leaving the diviners. The diviners are children of magi who haven’t become magi and therefore have no magical powers. Years later, a scroll appears which awakens the magic in diviners. 

The quest: Zelie and her crew must find and take three sacred items – the scroll, a dagger and a sunstone – to a sacred (disappearing) island that appears only during the summer solstice. There, they must recite the incantations on the scroll in the temple of the gods during the solstice or lose the chance to bring back magic to Orïsha forever. 

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: Everything! I loved absolutely everything about this book: the writing style, the imagery, the characters, the actual story, the world building, everything. I loved reading it, I know I’ll read it again, and I can’t wait to read Book 2 (it’s a trilogy by the way)! 

It’s a masterpiece. What I loved about it?

A. West African Mythology. I loved reading Britannica as a child because it showed me the myths and legends of different parts of the world, Roman and Greek ones, etc. This book was my first foray into West African Mythology especially the Orïsha, so it hit all the right buttons! I loved learning about the gods of Yoruba mythology: Ori, Oya, Sango, Yemoja, Ogun! I loved it so much that I now want to do a course on West African Mythology because I want to learn and write about Igbo gods too. I loved the fact that it was set in Nigeria and i loved the use of a lot of Yoruba (which I can’t understand by the way).

B. The highlight of the book for me: The Setting!! The World building: the ten Maji clans and their different powers and deities; the animals (the leoponaries and panthernaires); Ibeji, the desert city, where the slaves fight to the death for the pleasure of nobles in an arena the size of the Roman Colosseum filled with (wait for it) water! Note that water typically goes for one gold piece per cup, a small fortune for the inhabitants of the city. Imagining Chândomblé, the lost temple of the sacred sentaros, the protectors of magic, almost brought tears to my eyes. Did I mention that I am a lover of medieval movies? I am. So it was so easy to imagine every little scene in this book. 

C. The characters are relatable. The most fulfilling emotional arc was Amari’s. She went from a timid, scared-of-her-own-shadow little princess to an amazon at the end. 

One thing is sure, Adeyemi is a wonderful storyteller and she had me enthralled from the first page until I finished the book, five days later. (This kids-at-home business won’t let me shine)

Here’s when we first get a taste of the power of magic in the hands of diviners. 

Though Binta resists, Kaea pushes the scroll into her grip.

Light explodes from Binta’s hand.

It coats the throne room in its magnificence—brilliant golds, shining purples, sparkling blues. The light arcs and shimmers as it cascades, a never-ending stream erupting from Binta’s palm.

“Skies,” I gasp, terror at war with the awe bubbling inside my chest.

Magic.

Such imagery!!!

If I had to distil the highlights into three words, they would be Mythology, Magic, Medieval. 

I strongly strongly recommend this book to everyone particularly lovers of history, mythology, and Nnedi Okoroafor’s books.

Note that this is a multiple award winning book and a New York Times Bestseller.

The story is phenomenal. It is an epic. Definitely my best book of this year.

DOWN: The only down (which wasn’t that serious really) was the fact that it was a bit hard to differentiate between the voices of the two female characters (i.e. Zelie and Amari). Many times, they basically sounded the same.

RATING

5 Stars

TRIVIA

Read an excerpt here: https://read.macmillan.com/mcpg/childrenofbloodandbone-excerpt3/

CHALLENGE: Children of Blood and Bone 

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

1.    What is Orisha? Write a short 1000-word essay 

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 13-16 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, September 28th 2020. 

Next Book of the Week: 

SULWE by Lupita Nyong’o

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Press Here

FEBRUARY IS ‘COLOUR‘ MONTH

Title: Press Here

Author: Hervé Tullet

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Number of pages: 56

Type of Book: Activity; Interactive; Educational

Age: 0 – 4

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Press-Here-Herve-Tullet/dp/0811879542/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RAZS2H4WXVAAHT34M159 ; http://www.tamsinkbooks.com.ng/product/press-here/

Price:  $9.09

MY SUMMARY

This book takes young readers on a magical, colourful journey beginning with two words, ‘Press here’. It starts with a yellow dot which magically multiples with each, ‘press’ (really a rub) of the reader’s tiny fingers. The book enthralls the 1 – 4-year-old reader with commands to ‘press’ it, shake it, rub it, blow it, tilt it and watch the coloured dots change colour, multiply, fly and dance all over the pages. Guaranteed to keep your toddler entertained for ages.

Warning: You may read it over and over and over and over again in one sitting! Be prepared.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: It features the primary colours and colours are our theme for our 0 – 4 age group for the month of February! It helps kids build fine motor skills and introduces them to the concept of ‘action’ and ‘reaction’. Author, Hervé Tullet, is an artist so he knows how to literally and figuratively ‘play’ with colours! This is why this award-winning New York Times Bestseller is such a favourite with little children. Other titles by the same author, ‘Mix it Up’, ‘Let’s play’. I recommend for all 0 – 4-year-olds. It’s a sturdy book too so it will survive those little fingers.

DOWN: None

RATING

5 Stars

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Make your own Press Here mini book (plus other activities) here: http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/presshere/images/PressHereActivitySheets.pdf
  2. Watch the book trailer here: https://www.amazon.com/Press-Here-Herve-Tullet/dp/0811879542/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RAZS2H4WXVAAHT34M159

CHALLENGE: Press Here 

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Draw and colour 5 shapes using 5 different colours (2 – 4 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 2 – 4 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 February 7th 2017.

Next Book of the Week:

PRINCESS ARABELLA MIXES COLOURS by Mylo Freeman

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photo credit: amazon.com

 

Malaika’s Magical Kiosk

maliakasmagicalkiosk-screen-shot-2016-06-06-at-8-37-30-pm

Title: Malaika’s Magical Kiosk

Author: Shaleen Keshvjee-Dulam

Publisher: Mango Books, an imprint of Quramo Publishing

Number of pages: 21

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: http://www.quramo.com/content/malaikas-magical-kiosk-0; Kindle edition: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Malaikas-Magical-Kiosk-Shaleen-Keshavjee-Gulam-ebook/dp/B01KV6VX5I;  Terra Kulture, 1376 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island Lagos.

Price: N1200; 3.66GBP; N1300

MY SUMMARY

Michelle and her sister Wanjiku lived in small village in Kenya filled with happy people. That year, the rains refused to come, the crops dried out and everyone was scared they wouldn’t have enough food to eat. The adults became grumpy and mean people who barely spoke and the little children stopped laughing. Things changed one day when a mysterious woman named Malaika – and her kiosk – appeared in the village market. Malaika gave all the things in her kiosk to the villagers for free, she made grouchy Mrs. Karanja smile and turned Mrs. Karuki’s brown teeth sparkling white. Everyone loved her. Read the book to find out who the mysterious Malaika was and what she did to the girls and their small village.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: This book was shortlisted for the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books in 2014, one of the best prizes for African Kid’s Lit! I was really excited when I got a copy and it didn’t disappoint. It had a feel good ending, the type that keeps a small smile on your face hours after you’ve read it. The illustrations were good too. I have a thing for illustrations especially in picture books, they have to be perfect. So much depends on them. This book had good illustrations. Young readers will gain a sneak peek of rural living in Kenya and will learn a word or two in Swahili. It also features a small glossary for the Swahili words used in the book.

DOWN: None.

RATING

4 Stars

TRIVIA

  1. Jambo” “Habari” are forms of greeting in Swahili, the language spoken by Malaika and the girls in this book and by a lot of East Africans especially Kenyans.

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  • Watch the book trailer here:

CHALLENGE: Malaika’s Magical Kiosk

 

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. List 5 items on Malaika’s body and find the items in the grid below (6-8 year olds)
Z D C Y H N M K O D G J K B X
V G O F T S J T O E G L E N O
G H W G T D R E S S 1 I I A E
H J R H T R W E T O E P N I N
Y U I A E A R R I N G S A K A
I F E H S O L A C R A T W I T
O F S J A V S K E T C I O U S
O C N X D E J E W E L C G N A
L X S B A N G L E S A K A L F
I N O V S A M E X T A S E A G
  1. Draw and colour Malaika and a magical kiosk. (4-5 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, December 7th 2016.

Next Book of the Week:

THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER by The Brothers Grimm

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