Out of Africa
Short of a gift from the Tooth Fairy, bold prints might be the best reward
Losing your first tooth is an endearing milestone for any child. And in many western nations, it’s rewarded with currency from the magical tooth fairy. Penda Diakité’s I Lost My Tooth in Africa provides a different outcome when Amina, the tale’s protagonist, loses a tooth but gains the chicken that she wanted desperately.
Traveling from Portland, Oregon to visit her family in Bamako, Mali, Diakité describes the customs and communal culture of her family and the village people. Accompanying Diakité’s narrative are whimsical illustrations by her father. His use of rich colors and the combination of prints that Amina wears complement the pure excitement she and her cousins share as she waits for her tooth to fall out. Even if an imminent trip to Mali’s not in the cards for your little girl, she too can sport the same exuberant spirit with bold patterns and prints. With daring looks like these, she’ll be as happy as if she’s just received a chicken! —Barry Samaha