Title: Didi Kanu and the Singing Dwarfs of the North
Author: Jude Idada
Publisher: Creoternity Books
Number of pages: 252
Type of Book: Fantasy, Fiction; African
Didi was a dreamer. An 8-year-old girl born into a very poor family in Eastern Nigeria and the youngest of five children, she desperately wanted to go to school almost as much as she wanted to visit one of the places she had heard about in Ede’s stories: the mountainous lands of the North. Didi wanted to see the singing dwarfs. Her chance to achieve both dreams came when Uncle Ikenna came to the village from Lagos and took Didi back with him. However, bad luck, or was it fate, knocked on her door when one day, Uncle Ikenna had an accident, which sent him into a coma. Only a song by Mei Kalala, a singing dwarf of the North can save Uncle Ikenna’s life. Didi had a few days to journey to the mountainous lands of the North to find the singing dwarfs and learn the song. Read the book to follow Didi on her journey to the North and find out whether she passed Mei Kalala’s test and got back to Lagos in time to save Uncle Ikenna.
THUMBS UP AND DOWN
UP: The major highlight of this book was its genre: African magical realism, a genre that isn’t very common in the world today. I would recommend for voracious readers, adult and child alike. This book is not for beginning readers or children who are just learning to love books.
DOWN: It was a bit too descriptive and rather slow-paced. It had quite a few grammatical errors that should have been picked up by a discerning eye.
- Who were the singing dwarfs of the North? They were bush babies that lived in the mountainous lands in the North.
- Mei Kalala told Didi that this would happen to her if she told a lie after drinking of the Nectar of Unbreakable Oaths? She would turn into a Pillar of Ash on the Plains of Sorrows!
- Ede? The village storyteller. He told stories of times in the past when the village was ruled by magic.
- What were the ingots and grengots? They were half-humans that lived in banana trees and had tails for legs. Ingots made the bananas ripe, and protected them from the grengots who liked to eat them. The grengots could make people mad by jumping into their nostrils and living in their heads!
- Who was Big Aunty? Aunty Nonye’s stepmother.
- “ … it was something that looked like an elephant… had what looked like human arms. But they bulged with muscles so big that they looked like large tubers of yam stuck to the arm. In one arm, there was a big club with a humongous head from which jutted out sharp objects … it had what seemed like maggots falling out of it… there was pus coming out from other parts of it. There was hair over what looked like its chest and in that mass of hair, creatures that looked like mice scurried about. But these mice had extra-long snouts.’ The Keeper of Searcher’s Gates.
Read an excerpt here http://www.amazon.com/Singing-Dwarfs-North-Adventures-Volume/dp/1508745900
CHALLENGE: Didi Kanu and the Singing Dwarfs of the North
CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)
- What is Magical Realism? Write a short 400-word essay. Give examples using books and movies.
- Draw a picture of the ‘Big Aunty’ using the details below.
“Big Aunty’s arms were huge and her stomach bulged. Her neck was as thick as a tree trunk and her legs were like two pillars, the kind that held up the yam barns back in the village. Her chest kept rising and falling making her breasts look like two oversized pawpaws … Big Aunty’s breath came out like the puff of the blacksmith’s oven back in Obosi. She was like an elephant dressed in a green wrapper and green blouse. Her head was wrapped in a green head-tie. … she had Half Past Four eyes.”
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 10-12 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, January 24th 2016
Next Book of the Week:
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis