Mama’s sleeping scarf by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writing as Nwa Grace-James. Illus. by Joelle Avelino

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When Mama reads Chino a story at night, she allows her daughter to play with her sleeping scarf. It is so soft. She loves the feel of the scarf that Mama wears at night to keep her hair soft and nice. Going to work the next day she leaves her scarf with her daughter, letting her play with it until she returns. Papa in the kitchen makes her a smoothie, and a little spilt on Mama’s scarf. Papa dabs at it, making it clean again. She goes out into the garden where Grandpa is walking, getting his exercise for the day. Grandma is reading the paper, and Chino plays peek a boo with her using the scarf. She puts the scarf around CHino’s head just like Mama. When Mama comes home she sees the scarf and reminds Chino that she will need the scarf to sleep. Chino has had a day of imaginative play with her family, using her scarf.

At tea time, Chino is not very happy about the vegetables on her plate, until Grandma points out that the green vegetables are just like the green circles on Mama’s scarf and the red is just like the red vegetables. So eating vegetables is not such a chore.

When it is time for Chino to go to bed, she gives up Mama’s scarf and says goodnight to all her family.

This is a wonderful look at the essence of the family, everyone being part of Chino’s day of imagination, using the simplest of things: Mama’s scarf. The everyday is given centre stage as Chino connects with her family through the day. The colours red and green are give prominence and the tricky stage of rejecting vegetables is told with a neat solution for families to emulate.

The green and red scarf flows over most of the pages, a prominent part of Chino’s world. The wonderful illustrations underscore family life, showing them all doing things together through the day, Mama goes off to work while Papa, Grandma and Grandpa are at home with Chino and her pet rabbit.

Themes: Vegetables, Scarfs, Family life.

Fran Knight