Tag Archives: Nigerian Children’s Book Review

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


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.


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.


⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


  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 


  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:


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Jack and the Beanstalk









Title: Jack and the Beanstalk

Author: Retold by Vera Southgate

Publisher: Ladybird/Ladybird Tales

Number of pages: 10/47

Type of Book: Fiction; Fairytale

Age: 0 – 4

Available here: http://www.learnington-ng.com/literature/220-jack-and-the-beanstalk-a-touch-and-feel-book-.html; https://www.laternabooks.com/laterna_product_details.php?v=12878&c=111; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Beanstalk-Ladybird-Touch-Fairy/dp/1409304515; Free Download here: https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/sites/kids/files/attachment/stories-jack-and-the-beanstalk-transcript-final-2012-09-21.pdf

Price: N1000; N650; 2.80GBP


Jack, a poor little boy lived with his mother on a farm. One day, his mother sent him to the market to sell their most prized possession, a cow. Jack however, traded the cow for some bean seeds. His poor mother, angry at the boy, threw the beans out the widow and sent the boy to sleep. The following morning, a beanstalk that reached far into the sky had grown right outside the window. Jack climbed up the stalk into the sky to find a beautiful castle in the clouds, a golden goose that laid golden eggs and a harp that played itself. Read the story to find out what happened when the owner of the castle, a giant, caught Jack trying to run away with his prized possessions.

One of the most popular lines from the story is the giant’s, “Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum!”


UP: This is a great introduction to the world of fairytales. Jack’s story is a great adventure story that all kids will love. It’s a board book so it’s sturdy and will survive bites, spills and dunks in water. I recommend this book for all kids aged 0 to 4! Older kids can read this too.

DOWN: None


4.5 Stars.


  1. This story was first told over 5,000 years ago.


  1. Read the story here: https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/sites/kids/files/attachment/stories-jack-and-the-beanstalk-transcript-final-2012-09-21.pdf
  2. Listen to the story here: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/short-stories/jack-and-the-beanstalk
  3. Read the play here: http://www.grandviewlibrary.org/ReadersTheater/JackBeanstalk/JackBeanStalk.pdf
  4. Activities here: http://www.penguinreaders.com/pdf/downloads/pyr/factsheets/9780582428591.pdf
  5. Watch a video here:



  1. Draw and colour the picture of the beanstalk on the cover of the book (4 year olds)


  1. Identify and colour Jack (2-3 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, June 8th 2016.

Next Book of the Week:

THE LITTLE BLUE COW by Thecla Ojeifo


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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Title: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Author: William Shakespeare

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

Number of pages: 64

Type of Book: Fiction, Classic, Play

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: http://product.chelisbookazine.com/product/a-midsummer-nights-dream-young-reading-series-2/; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Midsummer-Nights-Dream-Usborne-readers/dp/0746063334/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464543391&sr=1-2&keywords=a+midsummer+nights+dream+usborne;  Free Download here: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/midsummer/full.html

Price: N580; 4.99GBP


This play has four interconnecting plots/stories.

  1. The Duke of Athens, Theseus is about to marry the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta whom he has just conquered in battle. He orders four days of festivities to celebrate his impending marriage.
  2. Hermia, daughter of Egeus, an Athenian, refuses to marry Demetrius (against her father’s wishes) because she loves Lysander. Egeus asks the Duke to sentence her to death, based on an ancient Athenian law that requires a daughter to marry a suitor approved by her father or face death. Meanwhile, Helena, Hermia’s friend loves Demetrius. So basically, Helena loves Demetrius who loves Hermia who loves Lysander (Yes, Shakespeare has a thing for love triangles, rectangles and all)
  3. Oberon, the King of Fairies wants to take his wife Titania’s ward as a page but Titania refuses. Angry, he puts a magic potion (juice from a flower) on her eyes to make her fall in love with the first creature she sees when she wakes up. His plan: watch her fall in love with an animal in the forest and then shame her into giving him the young boy.
  4. A group of actors, the Mechanicals, is contracted to perform a play during the Duke’s wedding however, they do not know the first thing about acting so they retire to the forest to practice.

The play is set in the enchanted forest. After the Duke Theseus rules that Hermia must marry Demetrius, face death or become a nun, she decides to elope with Lysander and they find their way to the enchanted forest. Helena learns of this plan and tells Demetrius who gives chase. Helena in turn runs after Demetrius. Oberon spies Helena running after Demetrius and feeling pity for her decides to give Demetrius the magic juice from the flower to make him fall in love with Helena. He enlists the help of Puck a mischievous fairy who mistakenly puts the juice on Lysander’s eyes. Lysander wakes up to see Helena and promptly falls in love with her. An enraged Oberon attempts to correct Puck’s mistake, so the juice is administered on Demetrius who also falls in love with Helena. Of course chaos erupts as suddenly both men who entered the forest loving Hermia now love Helena. Meanwhile, the same mischievous Puck, turns the head of one of the Mechanicals, Bottom, into a donkey’s head causing his fellow actors to abandon him. Queen Titania, wakes up after the juice has been spread over her eyes and falls in love with Bottom. J

Read the story to find out how all fours stories/plots were resolved.


UP: Humour! Puck, the mischievous, was the major highlight. He made this book fun and made me laugh out loud a couple of times. Watch out especially for the part where Queen Titania wakes up and starts professing undying love to Bottom, the donkey-headed man! I loved this story a lot as a child (even though it took a while for me to GET it!) This book however, is much better than the one I read as a child. It is easy to read and not as long.

DOWN: It may be a tad confusing for 4-6 year olds because of the interconnecting plots plus the fact that the play seems to be riddled with characters.


4 Stars


  1. This play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays


  1. Read the story here (the original version): http://shakespeare.mit.edu/midsummer/full.html
  2. Visit William Shakespeare here: http://www.shakespeare-online.com

CHALLENGE: A Midsummer Night’s Dream


1. Read the information above, then answer the following questions (6-8 year olds)

  • This little person caused a lot of trouble in this story?
  • Is there a play-within-a play in this story?
  • Who is Oberon?


2. Draw and colour a man with a donkey’s head (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 Thursday, June 2nd 2015.

Next Book of the Week:

MY NIGERIA: People, Places and Culture by Constance Omowumi Kola-Lawal







Dear Pint-sized Bookworms (and their mummies, daddies, aunties, uncles and teachers),

A few days ago, a friend called me ‘Super Mom’. Those words sparked off a lot of thoughts in my small head. Of all the thoughts, 1 stuck: I have definitely bitten off more than I can chew.

  • I have a blog that needs to be fed at least 3 posts every week
  • I have to read 3 books every week in order to feed the blog
  • I have 2 boys under 2 and no help
  • I am in the 2nd year of my PhD (in Law)
  • I am working on 2 manuscripts: 2 early chapter books and I have a July deadline
  • Our reading club will kick off May 27th (in 2 weeks) in 3 schools with a minimum of 60 pupils

Suffice it to say that according to a popular Igbo idiom, I have slowly but surely stuffed my hands and feet in my mouth at the same time. I am definitely not ‘Super Mom’. If anything, I’m ‘Exhausted Mom’.

So dear Pint-sized Bookworms, this is the part where this Busy Bee yells, “THERE ARE GONNA BE SOME CHANGES AROUND HERE!!”

Since I’m not the smartest person in the world (you’ll come to understand why I said this in a few seconds), I have decided to add 2 more posts every week! (You see!). Basically, I’m trying to enrich your reading experience by putting up some more interesting stuff.

So our blog schedule will be tweaked a little. Every week, expect the following:

Mondays: Love Books! Anything in the world of Children’s Books: tips on reading with children, book reading events, news from our reading club, top libraries and bookstores for children’s books, etc.

Tuesdays: Book Reviews for 8-12 year olds

Thursdays: Book Reviews for 0-4 year olds

Fridays: Stories from Me! At least 500 words from my manuscript.

Saturdays: Book Reviews for 4-8 year olds

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Happy Reading !!





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A Pre-School Alphabet Book and A Treasury of African Names

IMG_6039Title: A Pre-School Alphabet Book and A Treasury of African Names

Author: Noma Sodipo

Publisher: Swan Publishing

Number of pages: 63

Type of Book: African; Fiction; Educational

Age: 2 – 7

Available here: www.preschoolalphabetandafricannames.com; Swan Publishing: 7th floor, 27/29 King George V Road, Onikan, Lagos; TerraKulture: Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island, Lagos

Price: N1500


My first thought was “Not another ABC book”, but this is an ABC book with a difference. It features the expected – Ants, Balls, Cats, etc. – but it goes many steps further to include colourful illustrations; common plants, animals and food found in Africa; colours; a question on every page and a full glossary of African names with their pronunciation, origin and meaning. It’s the perfect ABC book for the African child!


UP: I LOOOOOVVVEEEEE this book!!!!! (ESP because good quality African books for preschoolers are hard to find AND (Icing on the cake!!!) this one was written by a Nigerian!) This is easily one of the best books I have read this year and I have read it to my 2-year-old too! It is filled with vibrantly coloured illustrations and it features sights and sounds of 21st Century Africa. I recommend this book for kids aged 2 to 7 especially kids (African and non-African) who would like to learn about Africa. Parents can read this book to their toddlers and beginning readers can read it on their own.

DOWN: None!!!


5 Stars. If I could, I’d give this more than 5 stars.


  1. Noma Sodipo, the author, also produces the television programme ‘Storytime with Auntie Noma’ which is aired in over thirty countries in the world! 


CHALLENGE: A Pre-School Alphabet Book and A Treasury of African Names


  • Draw and name 10 animals found in Nigeria using the first 10 letters of the alphabet?

e.g. A – Antelope, B – Bat, C – Chicken (these examples can not be submitted as answers (6-7 year olds)


  • Draw and colour 4 (four) animals found in Nigerian homes (4-5 year olds)


  • Identify and colour the dog (2-3 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 2 – 7 age range. The first two correct entries will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Tuesday, April 19th 2015.

Next Book of the Week:




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