Friday, June 14, 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 14th June 2013 - "Splash! Anna Hibiscus" by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia (Walker Books)

When books speak to Charlotte in her own language, about things that she experiences herself, they're usually a big hit. When books like "Splash!" by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia arrive on our doormat, with its utterly charming and joyful cover (a book that does indeed 'talk' to Charlotte in her own language), they're an even bigger hit - or should we say a big splash?

This book has been in great demand and it's easy to see why. For starters, Anna Hibiscus is such a fantastic character. A little younger than Charlotte perhaps but with the same joie de vivre and the same love of the seaside. Secondly this book doesn't care that the weather is yucky and storm clouds keep chasing the sunshine away, it's a beautiful blue-sky book that is like carrying your own summer around in your book bag.

Thirdly, and this is the important bit, it talks about family and though Anna's family is different to our own, Charlotte could recognise the same characteristics. Big boy cousins who don't really want anything to do with girls, big girl cousins who are a bit too old to play Barbie Washing Hair or splash around in the sea.

So this tale is woven from colourful threads. Anna Hibiscus is enjoying a brilliant day by the seaside but no one wants to splash in the waves with her. Mum and Dad are busy as are her aunties and uncles. Grandma and Grandad are fast asleep (as usual!) and her cousins are wrapped up in their own games, so poor Anna feels a little lonely and neglected.

The lure of the sea is too tempting to pass up on a boiling hot sunny day so Anna can't wait any longer. If no one will play with her then perhaps...perhaps the sea will!

Soon she is busy happily frolicking in the surf, much to everyone else's amusement. What happens next? Well that's the best thing about going to the seaside with your family and friends - We bet you can guess what happens. Better still go and grab this book and if you're wistfully staring out of the window at the rain, or are stuck in a dismal office at work or covered in glitter and glue at school, long for hot sunny days and wrap yourself up in this brilliantly told and beautifully illustrated story.

There's a whole truckload more Anna Hibiscus stories to enjoy. We're latecomers but we'll be sure to catch up with Anna again as soon as we can.

Charlotte's best bit: Big Girl Cousins on their mobile phones (probably texting each other even though they're sitting right next to each other!)

Daddy's favourite bit: A brilliant inclusive book, beautifully told and with the sort of illustrations that make you long for sandy summers at the beach and the thrill of dipping a toe in the briny deep.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Lauren Tobia)


  1. I (er, we!) love the Anna Hibiscus books too. I love the names of her brothers, and doesn't she have a cousin called Chocolate too? What's not to love?! The story with Anna's mum wanting to be alone because of her Canadian upbringing but then all the aunties and cousins etc coming to help is so lovely. I wish we lived in a culture more like that, despite my own need for solitude... I must get the books out of storage actually, MG is probably old enough to read them now (bought ages ago!)

  2. So far we've only read Splash! but we will definitely be tracking down more. The series is a perfect example of a brilliantly inclusive, fantastically written and engaging book for Charlotte who was caught up with Anna's effervescence and loved the idea of the whole family hitting the beach (something alas we rarely get to do with ours, we're so far flung).

    Definitely dig 'em out for MG, I think she'd love them as much as Charlotte loved this


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