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From the Anna Hibiscus series, volume 3

by Atinuke & illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61067-007-4
Publisher: Kane/Miller

The amazing African world introduced in the first two Anna Hibiscus books has turned from lush to dry and dusty. It's harmattan season, when the wind blows sand from the Sahara Desert, nearly Christmas time. Soon Anna Hibiscus will travel all the way to Canada to visit her other grandmother and see snow. Four linked stories describe incidents from daily life: careful dry-season bathing with buckets, family nap time, shopping for cold-weather clothes in a modern department store and a more satisfying traditional stall and the week Anna’s family seems to have forgotten her—until they produce their going-away surprises. As in other titles in the series, these gentle stories are illustrated on nearly every page with Tobia's gray-scale sketches. Accurate cultural details will appeal to readers curious about life in an unfamiliar world. This suburban family compound in a generic sub-Saharan country reflects the author’s own Nigerian childhood. The third-person narration moves briskly, with plenty of dialogue. Novice readers may find unfamiliar dialect challenging: “In dis your compound you throw water for ground," a peddler selling fruit outside the family home complains, pointing out that while Anna's family uses leftover wash water to water the plants, city children have no water at all. Once again, Anna demonstrates a growing social consciousness.  Readers may begin Anna's story here; they will certainly want to go back to read earlier stories and will look forward to learning what happens next. (Fiction. 5-9)