Reviews for Anna Hibiscus


Booklist Reviews 2011 January #1
Early chapter books set in modern Africa about a middle-class family are hard to find in this country. Early chapter books that deftly handle the difficult issues of poverty, class, and economics are even rarer. Nigerian-born Atinuke's series about young Anna Hibiscus and her large extended family do these things with grace and humor. Originally published in England, the first two are now available here. Anna Hibiscus lives in "Africa--amazing Africa," in a city of "lagoons and bridges . . . skyscrapers and shanty towns." Her mother is from Canada, her father from Africa, and she has twin baby brothers, Double and Trouble. Each of the four chapters tells a complete story and, while presenting clear cultural differences, explores themes that are universal and child-centered. A story about selling oranges from a family tree is of special interest as a resource for primary classrooms with economics benchmarks. Never didactic, the fluid storytelling is enhanced by Tobia's charming illustrations. While it is disappointing that a specific country is never identified, the book's strong features make it noteworthy. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 August #1

Linked short stories star Anna Hibiscus, who lives in a large house in a compound in "amazing Africa" with baby brothers Double and Trouble, parents and extended family. The first title in this appealing new series introduces Anna's world. The family goes on vacation, an auntie visits from America, Anna learns what it is to do hard work and she gets an invitation to visit her Canadian grandmother. Her world grows in Hooray for Anna Hibiscus! (978-1-935279-74-7): She starts school, sings before a large audience, tries a hair experiment and visits a very poor neighborhood. These stories celebrate the extended family and the combination of traditional ways with conveniences of the modern world; they contrast Anna's relatively privileged life with that of others in her country and reflect the Nigerian childhood of the author, a storyteller now living in Wales. Tobia's sketches, pen-and-ink with a gray wash, will help early readers visualize the family, unfamiliar customs and clothing and Anna's community. A third title has already been published in England. A welcome window into an unfamiliar world. (Fiction. 5-9)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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