Review: Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke

anna hibiscus song

Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Anna Hibiscus returns in a picture book!  Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa with her extended family and they are very happy.  In fact, Anna Hibiscus is so happy that she almost floats out of the mango tree she is sitting in.  She doesn’t know what to do with herself, so she asks her grandparents, aunties, uncle, cousins and parents what they do when they feel so very happy.  Though Anna Hibiscus tries their techniques, she has to figure out what her own reaction to pure happiness is. 

This jolly picture book captures the essence of the chapter books featuring Anna Hibiscus.  Though the story is by necessity less detailed and shorter, it does a good job of setting the African stage for the story and revealing the deep love and connection that this family has.  The character of Anna Hibiscus is also shown clearly and concisely, neatly packaging her in a smaller form but losing none of her charm and wit.

Tobia’s illustrations also echo the chapter books closely.  They celebrate the African setting and the warmth of this home.  They also embrace the different skin colors of members of the family.  In the entire series, I have appreciated how frankly and naturally this is handled. 

This happy, merry story would be a great addition to units on emotions or a joyful read in any story time.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Kane Miller.

Also reviewed by The Artful Parent and Jean Little Library.

Review: Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

naamah and the ark at night

Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, illustrated by Holly Meade

Naamah is Noah’s wife.  In this picture book, she is the woman who sings the ark to sleep at night.  She sings throughout the night, through the rain, soothing the animals as they are restless.  She sings for the night itself, for the moon and for the stars.  She sings for the earth and sky, for her family in the ark.  She sings the entire ark to sleep.

Bartoletti’s Author’s Note speaks to the origin of Naamah’s name.  It also talks about the ancient Arabic structure of the poem she used in this book.  It requires using the same ending word in each couplet, preceded by a rhyming word.  This structure does not seem limiting as it reads, but it is completely unique and immediately caught my eye and ear as something different.

Meade’s art is exquisite.  Her watercolor collages have a texture and depth to them that is delightful.  They have movement and vary from bright colored tigers pacing to silhouettes against a star-filled sky.  She is very successful in showing the vastness of the water and storm around the ark, the beauty of the night sky, and the grace of Naamah as she moves around the ark.

A lovely picture book, this book reveals a little-known Biblical figure.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by: