Chike and the River

Chinua Achebe, Author
Chinua Achebe, illus. by Edel Rodriguez. Anchor, $10 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-307-47386-8
Reviewed on: 04/11/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Paperback - 63 pages - 978-0-521-04003-7
Prebound-Glued - 96 pages - 978-0-606-23167-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-03033-6
Open Ebook - 52 pages - 978-0-307-74207-0
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Originally published as a children's book and now debuting in the States as a "fable for readers all ages," this light work by the boundlessly talented Achebe follows Chike, an 11-year-old boy whose adventures comprise neat little life lessons. Chike lives in the Nigerian village of Umuofia with his mother and two sisters, and is surrounded by stories, such as that of Sarah, a friend of his mother, who tells Chike of a small bird and the River Niger; the story has a big impact on Chike, who likes to retell it with embellishments of his own, and, more significantly, it implants in Chike a strong desire to see and cross the great Niger. The desire becomes an obsession that leads to a foolish bargain struck with a charlatan and to taking a risk that nearly costs Chike his life. Of course this is one of many lessons that lead to maturity; others stem from mischief Chike gets up to with his friend Samuel, aka S.M.O.G. (Samuel Maduka Obi, with the "G" added just for fun), who teaches Chike how to ride a bicycle and nudges him into various adventures, most with a comic twist. Rodriguez's charming illustrations add texture to a classic children's story. (Aug.)
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