Compiled from a bestselling comics franchise in France, this import captures the hilarious misadventures of a township girl as she rewrites the bounds of African girlhood one comical short story at a time.
“Akissi, do you want to look beautiful?” her mother says as Akissi suffers the pain of getting her hair twisted. How does young Akissi respond? “No Mum! I want to be ugly and bald!” This is how the over-the-top story “Lice Games” begins as Akissi searches for a way out of these excruciating hairdo sessions by self-initiating her own head-lice infestation. Such mortifying premises can be found throughout this extended English compilation (containing the same seven stories as the 2013 volume of the same name, plus many more), taken to their unpredictable and uproarious conclusions. The rivalry between Akissi and her older brother, Fofana, takes the spotlight as the source of much ribbing and many pranks. In “Tattle Tattle, Toil and Trouble,” Fofana squeaks out a win (possibly just until their parents find out…), while in “Midnight Pee,” Akissi is able to get one over on him, leaving Fofana with surprise soiled laundry (yeah, it goes there) on an overnight camping trip with their grandparents. French artist Sapin provides the loose, colorful illustrations that accompany Abouet’s tales, which take inspiration from her childhood growing up in the Yopougon neighborhood of Abidjian, Ivory Coast.
An unforgettable, boundary-busting, falling-over-funny collection that defies the narrow representations English-language readers receive of growing African girls—we stand desperately in need of more Akissi and more Abouet. (recipes) (Graphic short stories. 8-14)