cover image Emeka's Gift: An African Counting Book

Emeka's Gift: An African Counting Book

Ifeoma Onyefulu, Ifeoma Omyefulu. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-65205-2

This unusual counting book cum photo-essay weaves into its narrative details of life among the Igala people of southern Nigeria. ``One boy''-Emeka-walks to the neighboring village to visit his grandmother, wondering about a suitable gift for her. He passes various possibilities along the way (``four new brooms,'' the ``big grown-up hats'' modeled by five youngsters, etc.) and imagines how Granny might react to each one. In the end he can only share a hug with Granny, who declares that she has received ``the best present of all.'' Using a simple framework, Onyefulu (A Is for Africa) sprinkles informative sidebars alongside her tale of Emeka's journey, enhancing the reader's understanding of a lesser-known culture. Lucid, attractively composed photographs of Igala people and their artifacts add to the book's multicultural import. Intelligently rendered and ultimately heartwarming. Ages 3-9. (May)