We first read Atinuke’s “Splash, Anna Hibiscus!”, illustrated by Lauren Tobia on our train ride to the coast. It was little gosling’s first time walking and playing on the beach and in the sea. I had bought the book and saved it for this special occasion. Atinuke’s “Baby goes to market” and “B is for Baby” are big hits at home and I was hoping this story would also catch on. It most certainly and amazingly did!!! Little gosling remembers the day at the beach, among others, by having jumped and splashed with the waves, just like Anna Hibiscus.
This is a lovely story about an extended family enjoying a day at the beach and eventually being lured by little Anna’s contagious laughter “hee-hee-hee-hee” to join in to playing and “splashing with the laughing waves”. A splendidly joyful celebration of family time at the beach! It gives so much pleasure to read and it is thoroughly enjoyable. I love the portrayal of such a united extended (and mixed race) family ultimately renouncing their individual occupations to have fun together.. We live far from our families and our families live quite far from each other, so little gosling will likely not experience anything like this.
We read the story several times on the train, the high points being, of course, the moment Anna starts jumping into the sea, splashing and laughing, the image of the whole 15-members family holding hands and playing in the sea and the last image of Anna lovingly hugging her mommy. I personally love some of Anna’s cousins’ names: “Common Sense”, “Chocolate” – such a lovable one :))))) “Wonderful”. The illustrations capture the African colour and spirit: the lushly green beach line, palm trees all around; the local fishing boats lying on the sand in the hot sun, whilst fisherman engage in long conversations with the visitors; local boys playing ball on the sand; the striking mix of colours of Nigerian clothes; the tasty corn and pastries awaiting to be eaten at lunchtime. After all, “Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa”.
It’s the first Anna Hibiscus story that we read (Anna Hibiscus’ Song is on its way to us), but as little gosling grows, we’ll indulge in more of them.