Omer’s infectious smile will draw young readers into this photo essay detailing everyday life in an Ethiopian middle-class family.
Omer invites them to figure out his favorite spot to play. He mentions Korki (described as “a game like marbles”) but played with metal bottle caps, Atamata (“an Ethiopian clapping game”) and Gebeta—“an African counting game,” also known as Mancala in some countries. Most of his toys are instantly recognizable, as are the house furnishings save for some of the coffee-making equipment and the griddle for the injera, the Ethiopian staple pancake. Omer introduces readers to his parents, two sisters, his aunt, a nanny and a maid. Like many little boys, he always seems to be in the way, so he finds a special place where he can curl up with a book, use his crayons or have a snack. The insular scope of the text doesn’t include his location, except for a mention on the jacket flap and in the very short glossary opposite the title page (which provides page numbers for references, a well-intentioned but confusing gesture, as the pages are not numbered).
The attractive, sharp photos and simple text, counteracting many stereotypes, can be used to introduce the concept that children in different countries have similar needs and feelings, especially when it comes to fun. (Informational picture book. 3-6)