« Search again     |     Back to AfricaAccessReview.org
What's cooking Jamela
Daly, Niki; Niki Daly (illus.) What's cooking Jamela. New York: Farra Straus Giroux, 2001. $16.00, ISBN 374356025.

Note: Jamela is responsible for fattening up the chicken intended for Christmas dinner, but instead she gives it a name and makes it her friend.

Niki Daly, a South African writer/illustrator, describes the efforts of Jamela to save the Christmas chicken. He has a previous about Jamela's family in Cape Town (Jamela's Dress). This one focuses on the
preparations for Christmas dinner by a lower-middle class South
African family. After selecting a chicken, Jamela names it
"Christmas" and it soon becomes her pet. The reader quickly
understands why Jamela does not want her chicken to become Christmas
dinner. Jamela's love for "Christmas" eventually saves the chicken'
life. By reading this story, one gets a snapshot of daily life in a
township community. The characters utilize a variety of languages
which reflect the composition of the neighborhood. Daly integrates
humor in his illustrations which complements the story. The reader
realizes that this family is not so different from ones in the United
States. This book might be one considered for Christmas or religious
holiday reading or a unit on families or communities.

Rating: Grade: P Type: Book

Reviewed by: Patricia Kuntz, pskuntz@education.wisc.edu

Subject: Christmas / Fiction / South Africa / CABA Winner / Urban settings / City and town life