Publication Date: 7 January 2021
Three charming stories about a young girl who lives in a flat in Lagos with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmummy, who is very bossy. Too Small Tola is just the right size to fit under the bed and rescue Grandmummy’s most prized possession when it goes missing. Her abilities in maths prove to be very helpful when Grandmummy becomes ill. In the title story, though Grandmummy can’t afford to buy Tola new clothes, Tola turns out to be just as fine as the three fine girls she so greatly admires.
Packed with humour and heart, our second visit to Tola and her family in Lagos will leave you smiling from ear to ear, as our small but mighty young hero outsmarts her older siblings, and reaps the rewards of her kindness.
Once again, Atinuke has provided both a window and a mirror for children to immerse themselves in when adventuring with Tola in a different culture, and for children from urban Nigeria to see their homes and communities reflected in a book. Repeated phrases and Nigerian word stresses embed the reader into the dusty, muddy streets the children inhabit with Grandmummy.
In contrast to Anna Hibiscus, Tola lives a much less privileged lifestyle, where the whole family must contribute to their daily survival. There is so much love and laughter packed within the pages, and I loved seeing such a connected, diverse community supporting each other.
Onyinye’s illustrations capture the essence of the characters they portrait and bring the hustle and bustle of their life in Lagos to readers wherever they are. Striking patterns add depth to the stunning black and white illustrations, that really help connect the reader to Tola’s life.
Perfect for newly independent readers looking for their first chapter book.
The Fun Bit
Can you find the Tola and her family hiding in the picture?
Huge thanks to Walker Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.