Follow the adventure to Africa in this fictional fantasy book titled Simi Visits Grandma– Folk Tales from Jalingo.
If you are fascinated by fantasy, then you can’t go wrong by allowing yourself to be carried away into Jalingo following the exploits of Ìjàpá, the courageous and brave tortoise who set his mind on upsetting the order of the animal kingdom.
Femi takes the reader on a journey with Simi, a young girl visiting her grandmother for the first time in an African village. The story later climaxed with the grandmother narrating an original folktale. Femi’s intention was to tell a story of everyday living in Africa and to preserve some of the unique characteristics of popular West African folktales. “I wanted to create a work where the characters are happy just being people, a story void of the usual stereotype of war, injustice or inequality.”
Folktales and ‘tales under the moonlight’ are central to the African experience. However, the traditional oral method of telling stories is endangered by other mediums of storytelling. “Many of the stories I grew up listening to cannot be found anywhere in print, a trend if allowed to continue would mean those stories would not be known to the coming generations.” So I set to create my version of a folktale borrowing from the universal characteristics of animal characters widely known to many in African folktales.
Since its release, the book has been received warmly; it has been featured on CGAfrica, the Guardian Nigeria and the South London Weekender.
The is a joyous read for young adults and adults fascinated by fiction and fantasy.
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I just finished reading this great piece.. It was fascinating and captivating to read..I like the fact that it had a bit of vernacular in it which I've also learnt from..the vernacular words were explained.. The author also meticulously, like a painter, paints the picture of the plots in the book and with every attempt which could be likened to the stroke of the brush on a canvas , he makes it clearer and relatable hence making it immersive- like the reader could have a clearer picture.. I wish it had more tales in this particular piece but I guess we would have more tales in subsequent books. You definitely can't go wrong with this piece if you're into adventure and excitement
Story telling in form of folktales has always been a part of the African culture. Usually told by grandparents or any other family elders, storytelling was a favorite for any child. For here one’s imagination was allowed to come alive, and the accompanying songs that always followed these folk tales soothing. But the most important of all, were the many lessons passed on from generation to generation.
Reading Simi visits Grandma, Folktales from Jalingo brought back all those childhood memories. Simi is portrayed as a young, bright and happy school girl living with her parents in the city. Always full of stories about her school and her friends, she seems to keep her parents amused. And with the coming visit to grandma (she would be meeting her for the first time); she can’t hold her down her excitement! In fact, on the eve of the journey, she tells her parents that: “I will go to bed early so that tomorrow comes quickly”. Oh the innocence of children!
We follow the family as they travel to visit Simi’s grandmother. And this is what leads to the second part of the book.
Here, there is little about Simi’s adventures at her grandmother’s home. Rather we are introduced to the folktale that granny tells her granddaughter. It is of course told, with Simi’s constant interruptions, chatty as she is but the reader will definitely fall in love with her.
There is a lot to learn from the folktale and the tortoise’s cunning ways. It may be set in the animal kingdom but it does resonate with us as humans, on our "human" kingdom!
An enjoyable read and short enough to keep you or the little ones entertained. And just like the author hoped, the book does appeal to the child in you.