Catch That Chicken!

Written By: Atinuke

Illustrated by: Angela Brooksbank

For Ages: 2-5 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Family, Self-Esteem, Chickens, Ingenuity, Own Voices.

Summary: Lami is the best chicken catcher in her compound, and wears that title proudly. Lami runs all around chasing the chickens, sometimes to the dismay of those around her! When Lami chases one of the chickens up a baobab tree and falls out, she might have to rethink her methodology for apprehending her clucking friends

This book is super cute, and a simple story with bright illustrations for little readers. Atinuke is a fantastic storyteller, and I love the way that Lami’s grandmother empowers her to solve her problem of not being able to run after the chicken. The illustrations convey the hustle and bustle of the compound, and I love Lami’s pride in how well she can help others by catching the chickens that they need. There can also be discussions about thinking through decisions before acting when you’re excited, and how to solve problems creatively.

This book was kindly sent by Candlewick Press, but all opinions are my own!

Atinuke

Atinuke was born in Nigeria to a Nigerian university lecturer father and an English editor mother. From her About Me section of her website:

“For the first years of my life we lived in a dusty provincial town near my grandmother and grandfather, my uncles and my aunts, and the big boy cousins that I adore. Then my father was offered a government job and we moved to the enormous chaotic city of Lagos, where, despite the arrival of my two sisters, I was often lonely and bored. 

When I was ten I was sent to boarding school in England. This was something I wanted very much (due to reading far too much Enid Blyton). It did cure me of my loneliness and boredom but I suffered terribly from homesickness. 

Luckily it was only three years before my parents moved to England with my sisters and brand new baby brother and I was able to leave boarding school and embark on a new adventure with my siblings at the local comprehensive school. 

My father went back to Nigeria after only a year, drawn by a new government post and his own homesickness. We joined him in the school holidays but, for us, home became England. And, after a gap year in Paris, I went to the University of York in the north of England to study English and Commonwealth Literatures.

After university I went back to France and fell in love with living on the land, but it was in England that I told my first story on stage, spontaneously at a festival, when the booked performer did not turn up. I absolutely loved it, and better still, the audience absolutely loved it!  

For the next few years I fell head over heels into storytelling. I started collecting stories and performing them all over the world, at festivals and in schools, focussing on stories from Africa and the African diaspora. I still tell stories now whenever I am invited to do author events at schools or literary festivals. 

In 2005 an illness stopped me from travelling long enough to write the first “Anna Hibiscus” stories. 

I had been meaning to write those stories for years – ever since the homesickness of my boarding school days when I discovered how little children in the UK knew about Africa and even more so as a story teller when it was clear from children’s questions how little they still knew about the Africa that I am from. 

“Anna Hibiscus” was quickly followed by “The No.1 Car Spotter” which I wrote for (and with) my own sons. Because among all the stories and the traveling and the books, I had two sons, and moved to Wales (not in that order). 

We live in a house I built (with my hands) on a rocky, boggy mountainside overlooking the sea. I am still collecting and telling stories but now in the most excellent of company. I write book after book and the boys patiently listen to draft after draft.

Often the rain stops and the sun comes out and the sea and sky are blue and I am as near to paradise as I have ever hoped to be.”

Angela Brooksbank

Angela Brooksbank worked as a designer and art director in the children’s book industry before undertaking an MA at the Cambridge School of Art, and turning her hand to her own illustration. About her picture book inspiration, Angela says, “I am constantly inspired by children’s energy and unique response to life and hope that my work conveys some of their playful spirit.” Baby Goes to Market, written by Atinuke, is her debut picture book.

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