Too Small Tola


Too Small Tola lives in ‘the megacity of Lagos, in the country of Nigeria‘ with her Grandmummy, sister and brother. While Dapo is a champion sleeper and footballer, Moji is ‘an A* student’. However, Tola is an ace at numbers. That’s why Grandmummy asks her to help her at the Mile 12 Market, even though Tola is too small to carry baskets. Furthermore, it’s a long difficult  journey through traffic and across stinky gutters.

It’s Tola who hurries to the outside water pump when there’s no water in the taps. She stands up for Mrs Shaky-Shaky, and tries hard to fill the jerry cans quickly so as to not be late for school. Thereafter, it’s Tola, with Dapo’s help, who comes to Mr Abdul’s aid in time to get the costumes ready for Easter and Eid.

Atinuke’s three stories around a character whom we care about, are engrossing. We want to help Tola carry the baskets and stand up to the hectoring Ododi boys. We can feel the triumph of Dapo’s goal, and also the glee of his sisters when they awaken him with a tilt of the jerry can. Onyinye Iwu’s clean, accessible illustrations add to the joy and interest. Too Small Tola is a superb and ultimately satisfying early chapter book. Yet, Bookwagon would recommend this book to readers of any age. We can’t wait for more stories in this promised series!

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Too Small Tola

Atinuke, illustrate by Onyinye Iwu


Too Small Tola cannot possibly carry shopping from the market with Grandmummy. Doesn’t everyone know that she’s too small? However Moji has ‘her A* stare on’ that means she’s very busy, and Dapo has his football tactics that leave him ready to avoid work. Therefore, it seems Tola has no choice! She must carry the baskets with Grandmummy. Thereafter, she must journey with her across ‘the lanes of the big traffic on the expressway, … down the busy alleyways, … over the stinking gutters, .. past the cars crawling along.‘ What will they buy in the M12 market?
What might Tola do to help her family when the taps don’t fill with water? It seems like not only that but there’s no electricity! Can she carry the big jerry cans to the outside pumps before the queues form? What about Mrs Shaky-Shaky’s journey up and down the stairs? Furthermore, will Tola make it in time for school? Can she avoid the cruel jeers and actions of ‘the troublesome Ododi brothers’? 
The final story in this outstanding chapter book involves Tola and Dapo taking the strain for Mr Abdul. What special skill does Tola possess that might help this travelling tailor? Furthermore, will she have a new outfit for Easter?
Too Small Tola, like The No.1 Car Spotter is a joy to read. We are party to the life and experiences of a wonderful main character, experiencing her world in full, living colour ‘in the megacity of Lagos, in the country of Nigeria.’ 


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