Too Small Tola and the Three Fine Girls by Atinuke

“Too Small Tola” returns in a second volume of this warm-hearted series of Nigerian family life.

Too Small Tola and the Three Fine Girls by Atinuke, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu. Candlewick, 2022, 96 pages.

Reading Level: Chapter Book, ages 7-9

Recommended for: ages 4-8 as a read-aloud, 7-10 for independent readers.

Tola is the youngest (and smallest) of three siblings, but like her little grandmommy she has a tall will and spirit. She is growing up in “a run-down block of apartments in the megacity of Lagos,” Nigeria. Sister Moji is studying to become a doctor and brother Dapo is working on his soccer-star moves, so Tola is often overlooked by them. But when it’s time to shoulder household chores, who’s most likely to tackle them? And when one of Grandmommy’s prized golden earrings is lost, who’s going to find it? Tola can sometimes feel sorry for herself when “fine girls” parade their new jeans and designer bags, but she’s rich in other ways.

This is “Too Small Tola’s” second volume of stories, well suited for youngsters who are beginning to read independently. Though their life circumstances may be very different, young readers and listeners will find much to relate in older-sibling conflicts and peer envy, and will cheer Tola’s resourcefulness and pluck.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Worldview/moral value: 4

Artistic/literary value: 5

Read more about our ratings here.                 

Also at Redeemed Reader:

Reviews: Besides Too Small Tola vol.1, Atinuke is the author of the Anna Hibiscus series (starred review) and a delightful picture book, Catch that Chicken!

Reviews: Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Botswana follows a pair of real-life twins to the African savannah. Jane Kurtz grew up in Ethiopia with missionary parents and used that experience in her own African-based fiction; see our interview. Crossing the Stream features a boy facing emotional and spiritual challenges in an unspecified African country and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has inspired young readers all over the world.

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