Chicken in the Kitchen

(Author) (Illustrator)
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Product Details

$17.99  $16.73
Lantana Publishing
Publish Date
9.6 X 9.5 X 0.3 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Nnedi Okorafor, PhD, is a novelist of Nigerian descent known for weaving African culture into creative, evocative settings and memorable characters. Her novels include Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), The Shadow Speaker (winner of the CBS Parallax Award), and Long Juju Man (winner of the Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa). Okorafor lives in Illinois with her daughter, Anyaugo, and family. Okorafor's recent work includes the graphic novel LaGuardia, the miniseries Antar from IDW Comics, and Wakanda Forever and the Shuri series for Marvel Comics.
Mehrdokht Amini is an Iranian-born children's book illustrator. She has been nominated for a Kate Greenaway Medal and been invited to participate in the prestigious Bratislava Biennial of Illustrations. She lives in the UK.


"Anyaugo has a problem. A giant chicken has barged into the kitchen at night to eat and spoil all of the food Anyaugo's mother and aunties have prepared for the next day's New Yam Festival--the Igbo celebration that opens the harvest season in Nigeria. Anyaugo has been counting on or at least hoping for the help of the Wood Wit, a nature spirit that can travel through wooden objects, who knows 'everything that the wood knows' and who loves to help people in difficult situations. But when the Wood Wit advises Anyaugo to tell the chicken--in Chickenese, chicken language--to leave, she begins to recognize the Wood Wit for the trickster he is. A brown-skinned round face with mischievous eyes, long arms, a broad nose, and a smile that spans its whole face, the elusive Wood Wit will arouse curiosity and make readers want to know more about this mysterious and fun-loving figure. While Okorafor immerses readers in West African culture textually, Amini does likewise visually, especially in the beautifully patterned wings of the giant chicken. When the festival finally begins, Amini gives readers a wonderful idea of what the New Yam Festival looks and feels like. Best known for her African-based fantasies (Akata Witch, 2011, etc.), Okorafor leaps into the world of picture books in a most unforgettable way with this playful, fascinating tale."--Kirkus Reviews


"Okorafor (Akata Witch) brings readers to Nigeria where a girl named Anyaugo awakens in the middle of the night to find a giant chicken occupying the family's kitchen. With a resplendent coat of feathers in eye-popping oranges, golds, and greens, the chicken is already making a mess, and Anyaugo worries that it might ruin the New Yam Festival that begins the next day: 'Anyaugo couldn't let the chicken ruin the yam dishes in the fridge!' With help from the Wood Wit, a mischievous wood spirit, Anyaugo realizes that the 'chicken' is actually a masquerade spirit looking for a snack. Iranian-British illustrator Amini's illustrations bring a rough-and-tumble energy to this nighttime adventure; while Anyaugo is working up the courage to confront the chicken, readers see the Wood Wit--essentially a floating head with broad lips and lanky arms--teasing and tangling with the enormous fowl. In addition to providing a boisterous story of things that go bump in the night, Okorafor includes just enough information about the New Yam Festival to make unfamiliar readers feel in the know."--Publishers Weekly


"The night before the New Yam Festival, Anyaugo is wakened by a noise and finds a giant chicken in her kitchen. Worried that the chicken will spoil the special food that her mother and aunties prepared for the festival, Anyaugo seeks help from the Wood Wit, a nature spirit who can travel through anything made of wood. The Wood Wit teases Anyaugo a bit, telling her that she must speak to the chicken in Chickenese, '"Say buck buck CLUCK," the Wood Wit suggested. "But you have to say it just right!" It burst out laughing, amused with itself." Readers know what Anyaugo doesn't--that the Wood Wit has been there all along, aggravating the chicken out of Anyaugo's sight. The child summons her courage, and faces the chicken with a brave, 'Hello!' The chicken smiles and the Wood Wit hums a soft drumbeat. Anyaugo realizes that this is not an ordinary chicken, but a powerful masquerade spirit visiting her ahead of the New Yam Festival. Amini's jewel-toned illustrations are richly textured, providing readers with much detail outside of the text. Sweet Anyaugo's round face perfectly expresses her changing emotions on each page, and her feline companion adorably echoes Anyaugo's feelings. A sweet and satisfying story set in Nigeria that may inspire readers to learn more about the New Yam Festival and masquerades. A recommended general purchase for all libraries."--School Library Journal


"The multitalented Okorafor takes us deep into a small Nigerian village, where a young girl named Anyaugo is awakened by a loud sound. She follows the noise to her kitchen, where she finds herself face-to-face with a giant red chicken out for a midnight snack. If Anyaugo doesn't do something, the chicken will eat all the dishes her mother and aunties made for the New Yam Festival. Anyaugo tries to throw flour at the chicken, but it doesn't move. She then calls for help from the playfully mischievous Wood Wit, a nature spirit that lives inside wood. He instructs her to talk to the chicken, whereupon Anyaugo realizes the chicken is a masquerading spirit who has come to celebrate, which gives her the courage to ask it to leave her home. The big, bold, and sometimes almost three-dimensional illustrations maintain a folk-art feel while still feeling modern. Each page pops with bright oranges and reds to contrast the deep browns. An unusual, but quite gregarious, offering."--Booklist