This story opens with a boy imagining (or dreaming) of all the adventures he could have. Then he wakes up and discovers it is raining and that he is stuck inside. But then his Jjajja (grandfather) takes him on an adventure doing ordinary Ugandan things around the house, such as packing away the peas, gardening and cooking a fish stew for supper. The detail in the pictures and warmth of the soft pastel colours bring domestic Ugandan life alive for the reader and they also radiate with the warmth of the relationship between the boy and his grandfather.
As night begins the story takes on a magical dimension:
“With daylight now done and the dark settled in, Jjajja says our night adventures begin.”
They share African stories together
“tales of lost cities and great heaps of gold..African kingdoms a sight to behold.”
I can think of a number of bedtime stories where a child shares a story with a parent or grandparent. But, this is different in the stories the characters are sharing are African. The text and pictures work brilliantly together to communicate excitement about these stories. There could be some great follow up to this part of the story in looking for stories from different African countries.
As the night ends the boy and his grandfather share a magical moment outdoors and the reader is introduced to the noises of the Ugandan night.
I love the strength of the relationship between the boy and his grandfather. At night time this also includes Jjajja telling the boy that a star will always be watching over him. For anyone with a strong relationship with a grandparent or older person this story is sure to resonate whatever their ethnic background.
At the end of the book there is a lovely letter from the author Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl. Inviting you to look and listen to the wildlife around you (where every you live) and think about
- “What sounds do you hear in nature”
- “ What stories do they tell?”
This is a lovely story which introduces you to Uganda, whilst also encouraging you to look a bit closer at where you live and who you share special times with, and encouraging each of us to celebrate the ‘every day’. It would make a great addition to home and school libraries.
Thank you to the publishers Lantana Publishing for a free copy of this book to review.