cover image Anna Hibiscus’ Song

Anna Hibiscus’ Song

Atinuke, illus. by Lauren Tobia. EDC/Kane Miller, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61067-040-1

With this effervescent tale, Atinuke introduces younger readers to the African heroine of her early chapter-book series. As Anna Hibiscus sits in a mango tree watching her family members’ various activities, she “feels so happy, she almost floats out of the tree.” Bouncing from one relative to another, she proclaims her happiness, and they all tell her what they do when they’re happy: Grandfather counts all the reasons why, Grandmother squeezes her husband’s hand, aunties pound yam, Uncle Tunde dances to music from the car radio, Papa tells Mama how much he loves her, and Mama sits “still and quiet.” Anna’s “happiness grows” with every encounter, and she eventually discovers her own way to best express her joy (the title provides a hint). In Tobia’s cheery illustrations, the family’s vivid clothing contrasts with the cool greens of the lush vegetation. Focusing on the tight bond between the characters, Tobia accentuates Anna Hibiscus’s outsize personality and loving rapport with her family. Readers will easily identify with Anna’s glee—“I am so happy, I think I am going to explode!”—and find it infectious. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)