Writter/Illustrator: Niki Daly
Publisher: Pan Macmillan South Africa, Giraffe Books
Availability: Kalahari.net, bookshops
Software cover price: R64.95
Zanzibar Road, written and illustrated by Niki Daly, is the kind of children’s book you read more than once.
The book tells the story of Mama Jumbo, who arrives on Zanzibar Road ready to build her own home and make friends,in a compelling way.
Baby and I tend to focus on words when we read, so the artwork was a sort of add on during the first few readings. The story has a strong message about community, friendship and sharing and is full of unexpected humour.
It also has unique pieces of information which led to a discussion about how other people live, beyond Baby’s Johannesburg suburban/Phokeng rural experience.
But the colourful artwork added an unexpected (for us) layer to the story. There are tiny details that tell you more about the place and the people. The labels on the buildings, and characters like Little Chico, Baba Jive added interesting dimensions to what we thought might be township/squatter camp life.
Mama Juju looks oddly attractive with her really long nose. I also think that her fashion sense rocks, and wouldn't mind wearing those fabrics! [ BTW, Baby is still playing with the clothing design cut-outs from her Miss Behave Book, so that element is interesting for my girl.]
The artwork was also helpful when we read the Setswana version of the story, guiding Baby to through the meaning of words she didn’t understand. The book is targed for 4-10 year olds, as are all Giraffe Books published by Pan Macmillan South Africa.
We highly recommend Zanzibar Road.