Saturday, February 02, 2008
Apologies to Chinua Achebe...
I tried to get my 9 year old son to read Chike and the River, Achebe's short novel for children. I read it myself, and found the writing crisp and clear (what else was I expecting) and interesting enough to keep me going. A lovely thought to hold in your mind, of a young boy's dream to cross the river. But apparently to a Goosebumps, Tintin, Harry Potter, Inkheart, Dragon Rider, etc. 9 year old, it didn't seem to cut it! What if Achebe were to write a more fantasy-oriented children's book? Let me think... On the very first page Chike's parents are killed by a nuclear-mutated spider while they are watching Godzilla on their TV set. Chike runs off to his uncle, who turns out to have a dragon stored in a bottle. The miserly trader Mr. Peter Nwana is really a powerful witch who... cuts off people's heads and turns them into gold! Mr Nwana tries to control the spider to his own nefarious ends, and Chike and his uncle save the day, and Chike teaches his uncle that dragons are really just like humans.
Labels: africa children's books