Mayowa and the Masquerades


Title: Mayowa and the Masquerades

Author: Lola Shoneyin

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press

Number of pages: 32

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age: 4 – 8

Available here: http://www.cassavarepublic.biz/collections/childrens-books/products/mayowa-and-the-masquerades

Price: N750


This book was a joint winner of the 2011 Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Atiku Abubakar Prize for Children’s Literature so I had great expectations when I picked it up. I really liked it. It tells the story of Mayowa, a typical city boy looking forward to a leisurely day of playing computer games. His plans are shattered when his parents announce that they will visit his grandmother in the village. This is the very last thing Mayowa wants to do but he ends up in the village all the same. However here he meets the fun-loving cheerful Denuyi and together they explore Ilisan in ways that make Mayowa appreciate the beauty of rural life. Read the book to find out the things Mayowa discovered in Ilisan besides the colourful masquerades!


UP: Again, this week’s selection introduces in an entertaining manner some information about an indigenous culture through the eyes of a little boy. Supported by the vibrant illustrations of Francis Blake, Lola shows her readers a slice of Ilisan and Yoruba culture using traditional forms of greeting, masquerades, the bata talking drums as well as plants/fruits and animals/insects. It’s a fun read and every bit as educative as it is entertaining.

DOWN: None


4 Stars


  1. Ask your child to name one fruit mentioned in the book and two fruits that grow in your village.                      a. Yeye fruit
  1. Ask your child to list four features of any Nigerian Cultural Festival.


  1. Team the reading experience with a video clip of a Nigerian cultural festival or Take your child to any cultural festival near you.

READ AN EXCERPT HERE: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0103/7312/files/Excerpt_for_website_Pages_from_Mayowa.pdf?3619

CHALLENGE: Mayowa and the Masquerades


  1. Draw (and name) 5 masquerades commonly found in Nigeria. Make a collage of pictures of these masquerades.

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Wednesday, December 16th 2015

Next Book of the Week:

NO SCHOOL FOR EZE by Ifeoma Okoye

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photo credit: cassava republic.biz







Treasure Island


Title: Treasure Island

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Publisher: Bendon Classics

Number of pages: 182

Type of Book: Classic, Fiction, Adventure

Age: 8+

Available here: https://www.jumia.com.ng/jumia-books-treasure-island-treasury-of-illustrated-classics-storybook-collection-2604387.html; http://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Island-Junior-Classics-Readers/dp/B006Q1TNM8 

Price: N1,500; $3.88


Billy Bones, an old ‘Captain’ with the crew of the late Pirate Captain Flint, a famous buccaneer, came to the Admiral Benbow, an inn run by young Jim Hawkins’ father. Turns out the old ‘Captain’ had a chest of gold and a treasure map which was sought by Captain Flint’s old pirate crew, a group of motley creatures, some old some young, some blind some not, some scarred some not, some broody some jolly but all quite dangerous. Young Jim Hawkins got to the treasure map before Captain Flint’s old crew and set off on a treasure hunt to Treasure Island with a squire, a doctor and some servants. Little did they know that the crew they hired to man their ship was the very same crew they were trying to avoid. Read the book to find out what happened to them when they got to Treasure Island. Did young and daring Jim, the good doctor and the talkative squire find the treasure? Or did Long John Silver and his motley crew?


UP: Everything!! Get ready for some excitement and terror! It was a delightful read. I love books and movies about pirates and this one is no exception. I read it some 20 years ago and loved it, I loved it even more as an adult! It’s a good old adventure tale of buccaneers and buried gold!

I loved the characters: one-legged Long John Silver, the jolly but dangerous sea cook/pirate/tavern owner with his parrot Captain Flint, forever perched on his shoulder; Ben Gunn, the almost crazy, cheese-craving, pirate dressed in tattered ship sails, leather strings and sticks, who had been marooned on Treasure Island for three years! And of course the young and daring Jim Hawkins!!

Other highlights were the Black Spot, Black Dog and Billy Bones. Read the book to find out who/what these were.

I recommend this book for the family.

One of my best lines from the book: ‘Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

NB: This is an abridged version for children.

DOWN: None


4.5 Stars


  1. Why did the squire and the doctor ask Jim not to mention the exact location of Treasure Island in his writings? Because there is still treasure there!  
  2. What was buried in Treasure Island? Six pirates from old Captain Flint’s pirate crew and treasure in Gold and Silver! (Seven hundred thousand in Gold)
  3. Jim Hawkins was initially deceived by this person’s appearance – a horrible, eyeless, soft-spoken creature with an iron grip and a cruel, cold and ugly voice? Pew
  4. Who was Captain? He was a huge scary brown old seaman with a white scar across his cheek, black fingernails, rude language and dreadful stories about the sea. He had the map of Treasure Island.
  5. Everyone who walked into the Admiral Benbow Inn lived in fear of the Captain, while he lived in fear of/sought after one man? A sea-faring man with only one leg!
  6. “Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!” Who/What said this over and over again? Long John Silver’s parrot, Captain Flint.

Read an excerpt here: https://thingsthatmadeanimpression.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/excerpt-from-treasure-island-by-robert-louis-stevenson-black-spot/

Read the audiobook here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atBFFhV2Jcs

CHALLENGE: Treasure Island


  1. What is Buccaneering? Write a short 400-word essay


  1. Draw a picture of the Long John Silver using the details below as well as other details mentioned in this review.

“His left leg was cut off close by the hip, and under the left shoulder he carried a crutch, which he managed with wonderful dexterity, hopping about upon it like a bird. He was very tall and strong, with a face as big as a ham – plain and pale, but intelligent and smiling”.


  1. Write the full text and the origin of the pirate song:

‘Fifteen men on a Dead Man’s Chest

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum’

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8-12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.  

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Sunday, December 13th 2015

Next Book of the Week:






Afro: The Girl with the Magical Hair


Title: Afro: The Girl with the Magical Hair

Author: Okechukwu Ofili

Publisher: Farafina Tuuti

Number of pages: 60

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age: 5 – 8

Available here: https://www.konga.com/afro-the-girl-with-the-magical-hair-2087783

Price: N1000


Imagine a kingdom filled with girls and women with pin-straight weaves: Yackiland. Imagine a girl in this kingdom with the biggest, fullest, curliest, afro; so huge that it could cause a hairclipse (yep! It could block out sunlight): Afro. Afro was bullied and or ignored by the female folk in Yackiland because she was different. Her hair wasn’t pin-straight like the Kanek weave, it grew upwards instead of downward and it was too thick! So she kept to herself, playing with her hair and reading books. Then one day, everything changed. The people of Kanek ran out of hair to sell to the Yackilanders. All of a sudden, people liked Afro and her hair, especially when they discovered that her hair was magical: it had healing powers.

But the evil queen wasn’t happy with the turn of events. She kidnapped Afro and hid her in a hole in the ground, determined to keep Afro’s magical hair and its healing powers to herself.

Then Prince came along …

Read this book to find out how Afro, Prince and all the Yackilanders escaped the clutches of the evil queen … if they did *smiles


UP: This is definitely the best AND the quirkiest adaptation of the fairytale ‘Rapunzel’ that I have ever read. It satisfies all the basic requirements for a classic fairytale: good guys, bad guys, magic, bad guys are justly rewarded and the good guys live happily ever after (except when Prince snored and Afro “accidentally” shocked him awake!)

I loved the illustrations too! Especially the one on page 51! (Now you have to buy the book to find out!)

Other highlights were Afro’s full name: OhMyGoodnessDidYouSeeThatGirlsAfro, then the hurray for Afro hair and the display of Ankara.

I recommend this book for kids who have read the fairytale ‘Rapunzel’, (they would appreciate the twists) and those who haven’t because it’s a great story nonetheless.

DOWN: None


4 Stars


  1. How long was the evil queen’s hair? It was so long that it took a full minute for the hair to trail into a room behind her.    
  2. Afro’s full name?
  3. Why did people travel from all over Yackiland to see Afro? To see her magical hair and experience its healing power.
  4. What was the secret to Afro’s hair? A mixture of natural oils and raw eggs.
  5. What weird ingredients went into the evil queen’s relaxer? Acid, baby tears, bleach, lizard tails, rotten eggs and snake eyes.
  6. How did Prince find Afro? He heard singing then rapping coming from the ground in the forest!

Bonus: One more thing about Afro’s hair: It had static electricity, it could shock people!

Read an excerpt here: http://ofilispeaks.com/afrobook/

CHALLENGE: Afro: The Girl with the Magical Hair


  1. Write a 500-word adaptation of a well-known fairy tale.


  1. Draw (and name) 2 similarities and 2 differences between Afro’s story and Rapunzel’s story.

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 5 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Wednesday, December 9th 2015

Next Book of the Week:


NB (just for the mummies): Did you notice the ‘Kili Kili Star’ dress on the cover?


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photo credit: amazon.com






An African Night’s Entertainment


Title: An African Night’s Entertainment

Author: Cyprian Ekwensi

Publisher: African University Press

Number of pages: 152

Type of Book: Folktale, Fiction; African

Age: 10+

Available here: Borrow from ZODML Library, Ikoyi Lagos (http://zodml.org/eachbook.php?id=5061 ) or buy here: http://www.amazon.com/An-African-nights-entertainment-vengeance/dp/B0006CV54M

Price: $50.00


It tells the story of two men on a quest; one to have a child at all costs and the other to get revenge on the man who wronged him. Mallam Shehu, determined to have a child after 35 years of marriage fails to heed the warning of the gods and using love potions, takes a new wife, Zainobe who finally bore a son for him. Abu, Zainobe’s fiancé from childhood, betrayed and angry decides to seek vengeance. He leaves home and travels for years in a bid to find someone to take revenge on Mallam Shehu for him. The book chronicles Abu’s travails in foreign lands and the suffering of Mallam Shehu and his family afterwards. Read it to find out how Mallam Shehu and Abu succeeded in their individual quests and the price they paid for their actions. Aptly described by the narrator as a tale of vengeance, adventure and love, it will keep you glued to the pages till the very end.

UP: It is reminiscent of the popular-in-the-90s NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) TV series, Tales by Moonlight. However in the book, an old man, who made a bet with his audience that they would fall asleep before the end of the story and he would keep their money, replaces ‘Aunty’!
It is well written and very easy to read. The book also featured sections on moral lessons, vocabulary building and comprehension exercises in every chapter as well as a 20-page glossary.

DOWN: None

4.5 Stars

1. How did Mallam Shehu win Zainobe from Abu? He gave her a scent prepared by Mallam Sambo which made her fall in love with him.
2. Why did Abu embark on a perilous journey into the Kurmin Rukiki, forest of death? To get sap from a special tree with a gourd given to him by Tausayi, the man who helped him get his revenge.
3. How many parts of his body did Abu lose on his way to the forest of death? Two: his eye and his ear
4. Did both Mallam Shehu and Abu succeed in their quests? Yes. Mallam Shehu had a son, Kyauta, ‘meaning Allah be Thanked’ and Abu found someone to take revenge on Mallam Shehu.
5. What warning did the Gods give to Mallam Shehu? They warned that if he persisted in his quest for a child, he would have one but the boy would bring untold sorrow to him.
6. What warning did Tausayi give to Abu? He warned that there will be grievous consequences for their actions and that Abu would bear all the consequences.

Next Book of the Week: