Too Small Tola

Too Small Tola cover
Too Small Tola by Atinuke. Illustrated by Onyinwe Iwu

By Atinuke
Illustrated by Onyinye Iwu
Candlewick Press, 2021
96 pages

Ages 6-9

“Tola lives in a run-down block of apartments in the megacity of Lagos, in the country of Nigeria.” Three delightful episodic stories begin with “Too Small Tola,” in which Tola’s big sister is too busy studying, and her older brother is too obsessed by soccer, to help Grandmommy shop. It’s Tola who accompanies her grandmother through the bTustling city to the market, carrying the things they buy in a big basket on her head. Her reward for the hard work her siblings avoided comes in the form of tasty treats on the way home. In “Small but Mighty,” Tola helps fill jerry cans at the pump before school after their building’s water goes out. A boy who intentionally trips her gets his comeuppance when all the women in line take a stand against his bullying. And in “Easter and Eid,” Tola enjoys helping the tailor, Mr. Abdul, measure her family for new Easter clothes, and takes pride that her measurements are perfect. When Mr. Abdul breaks his leg, Tola steps in to measure his Easter and Eid customers in a tale, like the others, with a supremely satisfying conclusion. Atinuke continues to strike just the right tone in her charming, perfect-for-reading aloud stories full of details of diverse contemporary life in Lagos, not to mention astute observations about human nature. ©2021 Cooperative Children’s Book Center