August 2015, Amazon Media, 34 pages, Ebook, Review copy
Yetunde is a series of stories that follows the every day life of 6 month old Yetunde as she's narrated African folktales by her mom Iya Yetunde whilst growing up in London. Iya Yetunde also tries to improve her Yoruba speaking ability, so we see a nice mish mash of Yoruba and English. The folktales are of West African origin.
This is an intriguing life journal from a a baby's viewpoint with traditional stories woven in. I liked it because when I was younger I adored Aesop's Fables, even if they are a bit weird, so was interested in learning about African folktales, which are as weird as Aesop's, although I mean that in a positive way. Folktales aren't like fairy tales, the ending isn't necessarily happy, but the story always teaches a lesson; this can be on how to behave to others, which characteristics are positive for society, that kind of lesson.
The lessons are fun to read about because of the stories behind them, and I enjoyed the folktales within this book. More than that I loved the style of the book. I don't remember ever reading a book quite like it, with the point of view being from the baby in first person, rather than third person. It made me smile ever so much! Yetunde is a lively character who knows what she likes and doesn't like. Her insightful perspective makes the book an addictive read.
The reason the book didn't get full marks is because there are a few words which didn't sit right with me for young children to hear in a book, even if one case they were accurate ones. Also it woud have been nicer to have more of a translation for the Yoruba sentences - sometimes they were explained smoothly in the story, other times I was a bit unsure what was being said.
Find out more on Iya's website and her social media channels:
http://www.segilolasalami.co.uk (under construction)
You can buy Yetunde from any good book retailer can order it or you can find it on Amazon
If you enjoy folktales and fairytales then I'm sure you'll love this story collection: The Story Collector: The Emperor's Nightingale and Other Feathery Tales by Jane Ray (Children's, 9 years +, 9/10E)
Question and Answer session with Iya
|A cute hot chocolate which is relevant to the final question!|
Nayu here! In addition to reviewing this fun book, it's been exciting for me to have interviewed Iya about her book. Thank you Iya!
1) I remember reading fables when I was little and enjoying them. How did you decide which to put in the story, and which to leave out?
Iya: I simply started with the first story that popped into my mind that I thought was interesting
2) Yetunde is fun to read and looks at life from a point view which I can’t remember reading before now; it’s a fresh writing style – what made you use the viewpoint of Yetunde rather than talk about her in 3rd person?
I always wondered what a baby thought as they couldn't speak. So I wrote it this way as I felt this is what a baby would say if she could talk
3) I love the cover with the contrast of a real life background and cartoon like characters on the front: what made you choose this cover instead of having it all illustrated with no real life images?
The cover image reflects one of the stories in the book. I felt it would give the reader an idea of what to expect from the book
4) Will there be more adventures with Yetunde? If yes what can we expect? What are you working on at the moment?
Definitely, Yetunde is growing up and so is her vocabulary. I am still working on the marketing of this first book
5) Where’s your favourite place to write? Is there anything in particular that you like to eat or drink while you write?
Favourite (or should I say convenient) place to write is in bed in the middle of the night when my little girl is asleep. Most times I take nothing but sometimes I have toast and a hot chocolate drink before I start (Nayu: hot chocolate is the best drink ever!)