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Too Small Tola

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Original price $15.99 - Original price $15.99
Original price $15.99
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Current price $16.99
Three delightful tales from a renowned Nigerian storyteller introduce a chapter-book heroine who is every bit as mighty as she is small.

In a trio of droll stories, award-winning author and storyteller Atinuke debuts an endearing and enduring character with plenty to prove. Tola lives in an apartment in the busy city of Lagos, Nigeria, with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmommy, who is very bossy. Tola may be small, but she’s strong enough to carry a basket brimming with groceries home from the market, and she’s clever enough to count out Grandmommy’s change. When the faucets in the apartment break, it’s Tola who brings water from the well. And when Mr. Abdul, the tailor, has an accident and needs help taking his customers’ measurements, only Tola can save the day. Atinuke’s trademark wit and charm are on full display, accompanied by delightful illustrations by Onyinye Iwu. Too Small Tola evokes the urban bustle and rich blending of cultures in Lagos through the eyes of a little girl with an outsize will—and an even bigger heart.

ISBN-13: 9781536211276

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Publication Date: 03-02-2021

Pages: 96

Product Dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Age Range: 7 - 9 Years

Series: Too Small Tola

Atinuke was born in Nigeria and spent her childhood in both Africa and the United Kingdom. She is the author of the Anna Hibiscus series and Africa, Amazing Africa; Baby Goes to Market; B Is for Baby; and Catch That Chicken! Atinuke lives in Wales. Onyinye Iwu was born in Italy to Nigerian parents and moved to England when she was thirteen. She is a designer, illustrator, and educator. Too Small Tola is her first book for children. She lives in London.

Read an Excerpt

Tola lives in a run-down block of apartments in the megacity of Lagos, in the country of Nigeria. She lives with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmommy, who is very-very bossy.
Tola is the youngest in her family. And the smallest. And everybody calls her Too Small Tola, which makes her feel too-too small.
“Tola!” shouts Grandmommy. “O-ya, shopping! Let’s go!”
Tola looks at Grandmommy in surprise. Shopping isn’t her job! She is far too small to carry shopping!
“Why are you standing there looking at me?” asks Grandmommy. “Hurry up!”
“But . . .” Tola starts to argue.
She looks at her sister, Moji. Moji is big.
Big enough to carry a mammy-wagon load of shopping.
But Moji is sitting at her borrowed computer doing her homework. She is wearing one of her A+ looks of concentration. Tola sighs. Everybody knows not to get in Moji’s way when she is wearing that look.
What about her brother, Dapo? Dapo is fast. He could reach the market faster than an okada taxi.
But through the open window, carried on air as hot as pepper soup, come the sounds of boys playing football.
“Goal!” the boys roar. Then they start to chant, “Da-po! Da-po! Da-po!”
Tola sighs again. Everybody knows that Dapo is fantastic at football — and useless at everything else. Grandmommy says his tactics for avoiding work are as good as his football tactics.
Tola looks at Grandmommy. She is wearing one of her what-did-I-tell-you looks.
“Just hurry up, Tola,” she says.
Tola hurries to put the big shopping basket on her head. She does not want to upset Grandmommy. If Grandmommy is upset, soon everybody will be upset. Grandmommy passes on her moods faster than mosquitoes pass on malaria.
Moji looks up from the computer screen.
“Too Small Tola!” She laughs. “You will fall down when that basket is full!”
Tola tightens her eyes at Moji.
“Don’t mind her,” Grandmommy says.
“I need you to count the change so that nobody cheats me. Nobody can count faster than you.”
Grandmommy turns back to Moji.
“If Tola is too small, you want to carry the basket for her?” she asks.
Moji turns back to the computer screen.
Her A+ look deepens.
Grandmommy shakes her head, but she says nothing.
Tola follows Grandmommy out of the apartment, then pokes her head back inside.
“Lazy-lazy Moji!” she shouts, and she closes the door quickly. Tola knows that will make Moji as angry as a soldier ant.
Grandmommy tiptoes past the other doors. Tola tiptoes behind her. But as soon as they pass the door of Mama Business, it opens.
Mama Business greets them.
“Good morning! Good morning!
Where are you going?”
“Good morning, Mama Business,” Grandmommy says.
Grandmommy hurries down the dusty concrete steps. Tola hurries behind her.
“You are going to the market?”
Mama Business calls.
Grandmommy races out of the crumbling block of apartments. “Now that Mama Mind-Your-Own-Business has seen us, soon everybody will know where we are going.”
Dapo looks up from his game.
“Too Small Tola!” he shouts. “That basket is bigger than you!”
Tola’s eyes tighten again.
“Don’t mind him,” Grandmommy says.
She shouts to Dapo, “Do you want to carry it?”
Dapo dribbles the ball very quickly. Grandmommy sucks her teeth.
“Wait until I return!” Grandmommy shouts after him. “Then you will work!”
Dapo pretends not to hear. But Tola can see that he now looks nervous, nervous enough to miss the ball. Good, Tola thinks.