Popular characters return in two early chapter books for new solo readers: thanks to Walker Books for sending them for review.
Too Small Tola Gets Tough
Atinuke, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu
These three stories of the wonderful Tola, who lives with her siblings and Grandmummy in a flat in Lagos, show her as more determined than ever.
In the first she makes an exciting mathematical discovery and this in turn leads her to a realisation about life itself. However her excitement about these is quickly overtaken by news of a virus and the word ‘lockdown’ is spoken in the family residence. But it’s only in places like London where that happens surely. However the following day comes an announcement: Lagos is in lockdown. Now important decisions have to be made: will Lola’s family stay together or will her studious sister Moji, and brother Dapo now employed mending cars, go their separate ways?
In the second episode the question of lack of money becomes a huge issue: food is scare and Tola and Grandmummy, like countless other folk, keep going on one meal a day. Even Tola’s Papa, earning money far away driving his taxi is unable to help as his business too is out of action. Then comes a chance for Lola to contribute some much needed cash; reluctantly she decides to take it
finding herself working for a super-rich family.
However she soon discovers that rich people too now have problems, especially when they’re being cheated. Hurrah for Tola’s mathematical skills, and of course her kindness, cleverness, resourcefulness and mighty determination.
If you’ve not met Lola before, this third book offers a wonderful chance to introduce her to new solo readers. Those already familiar with her will welcome this new book with its lively drawings by Onyinye Iwu.
The Princess in Black and the Mermaid Princess
Shannon & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Now in her ninth adventure, the ever popular young Princess in Black is plunged into an underwater mission involving a mermaid princess (along with of course those elements her fans love: heroes in disguise, hungry monsters, imperiled goats, and ninja skills).
As the story begins the three heroes are sailing in Princess Sneezewort’s ship. The Princess in Blankets wants to battle sea monsters, whereas the Princess in Black hopes to see a mermaid. It’s the Princess in Black who gets her wish for they soon encounter the beautiful mermaid Princess Posy and the creatures of her realm.
The three offer to help her protect the capricorns from the hungry kraken. However they quickly realise that monster-fighting moves aren’t much use underwater.
The Princess in Black sends her new friend a message about assertiveness and helping others. Perhaps Princess Posy knows some new ninja moves that will help.
With appealing new characters, a totally different setting, teamwork, the wonders of the power of the imagination, links with previous episodes and a wealth of lively undersea filmic style scenes by LeUyen Pham, this is certain to be winner.