Friday, July 1, 2016

Have Fun Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Digging through the archives...

In her fourth adventure, Anna Hibiscus is finally taking her long-awaited trip to Canada, to stay with her maternal grandmother. Anna thinks she is completely ready and her family is sure they've given her all the things and advice she will need, although her mother looks a little worried over some of their advice!

But when Anna arrives and meets Granny Canada, it's not quite what she expected. She couldn't possibly have imagined such cold, and everything is dull and gray. Her granny lives alone, a big shock for Anna who is used to living with a big family and many relatives. Worst of all, Granny Canada has a dog. Grandfather warned her that people in cold countries have dogs inside their houses, but Anna didn't believe him. Dogs are filthy, sick animals that bite. How could you have such a thing in your house? And just when Anna thinks she may have met some new friends, who will teach her to play in the snow, they tease her and say she's not good at skating because she is from Africa.

However, with the help of Granny Canada and her own optimistic spirit, Anna overcomes all difficulties. She learns to love the snow and cold, to be friends with Qimmiq the dog, and to change the prejudices of the Canadian children she has met. Soon, Anna will be just as sad to leave cold Canada as she was to leave her beloved Africa - but she'll be taking a new friend back with her!

This is another wonderful addition to the story of Anna Hibiscus. We've seen her world from her point of view - now we see a whole new culture through her eyes. The prejudice of the other kids may seem simplistic, but it's a very simple age - and their responses are completely believable. It's a look at a culture most children are familiar with from a very different perspective and plenty of warm and happy adventures are included.

Verdict: This is a wonderful series to add to your series collection. After a while, most beginning chapter series seem to run together, but never Anna Hibiscus. Every story keeps the strength and familiarity of the characters while opening up a new world to the readers. Highly recommended.

Revisited: I love these so much. But, sadly, I simply cannot get them to circulate. These type of slice-of-life beginning chapter books only seem to be of interest to parents looking for read-alouds for their young children and no matter how much I try to promote these, they simply don't circulate. I haven't weeded them, but it's probably only a matter of time. Hopefully they will find a happier home in other libraries.

ISBN: 9781610670081; Published March 2011 by Kane Miller; Review copy provided by publisher; Purchased for the library.

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