Anyaugo has a problem.
A giant chicken has barged into the kitchen at night to eat and spoil all of the food Anyaugo’s mother and aunties have prepared for the next day’s New Yam Festival—the Igbo celebration that opens the harvest season in Nigeria. Anyaugo has been counting on or at least hoping for the help of the Wood Wit, a nature spirit that can travel through wooden objects, who knows “everything that the wood knows” and who loves to help people in difficult situations. But when the Wood Wit advises Anyaugo to tell the chicken—in Chickenese, chicken language—to leave, she begins to recognize the Wood Wit for the trickster he is. A brown-skinned round face with mischievous eyes, long arms, a broad nose, and a smile that spans its whole face, the elusive Wood Wit will arouse curiosity and make readers want to know more about this mysterious and fun-loving figure. While Okorafor immerses readers in West African culture textually, Amini does likewise visually, especially in the beautifully patterned wings of the giant chicken. When the festival finally begins, Amini gives readers a wonderful idea of what the New Yam Festival looks and feels like.
Best known for her African-based fantasies (Akata Witch, 2011, etc.), Okorafor leaps into the world of picture books in a most unforgettable way with this playful, fascinating tale. (Picture book. 4-8)