Too Small Tola & the Three Fine Girls by Atinuke & Onyinye Iwu


This is a series that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with. I adored the first one in the series – Too Small Tola, by Atinuke and Onyinye Iwu, which introduced the fabulous Tola and her family.

This second one – gosh, it really does pull at your heart strings. It’s so full of warmth, of emotion, of family and strength. You’re going to love it…

Tola may be the smallest in her family, the youngest, but she is mighty. She lives in Lagos with her very mighty Grandmummy and her older sister (Moji) and brother (Dapo).

Divided into three glorious stories, this is great for reading out loud. Bedtime? Classroom? It suits these perfectly. The second story in this latest collection, Tola Takes Control, really tugged at the heart strings. Tola wakes one morning to discover Grandmummy’s arm is “hot like fire.” A conversation with a neighbour confirms what the three siblings are thinking… Grandmummy needs medicine, and she needs it now. (Spoiler: Grandmummy does get better x) The three siblings have to make the decision to use all their family’s savings to buy it in order to make Grandmummy better. I love stories that empower children, and this one does exactly that as Dapo finds his own strength, his own skillset, that saves the day.

The final story in the book? It’s about Tola and how she feels compared to other girls her age – everyone around her look so fine, making Tola feeling… “not so good”. The arrival of the masquerade day in Lagos means EVERYone looks fine. Grandmummy comes to the rescue, “for three whole hours Grandmummy plaits teeny tiny strands of Tola’s hair together.” The descriptions and illustrations conveying this touching moment between Grandaughter and Grandmummy are really so, so lovely. A gorgeous chapter to end the book.

Atinuke’s fabulous descriptions and Onyinye Iwu’s detailed illustrations pull their young readers into Tola’s life in contemporary Lagos. Too Small Tola is an absolutely delightful series.

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