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Book Review: Time to Shine at the River School by Sabine Adeyinka (Chicken House)

Illustrated by Hanako Clulow


For ages 8+


Time to Shine at the River School by Sabine Adeyinka with illustrations Hanako Clulow (Chicken House Books, 2023) For ages 8+. I just burst with happiness when I read Jummy’s Nigeria-based boarding school adventures. In this sequel to ‘Jummy at the River School’ the girls discover their beautiful river has an awful rotting stench and the wildlife is dying!! Once again there’s a mystery to solve with bravery and teamwork (and some very motivating songs). A highly-recommended series for children moving into chapter books without illustrations.

About the book

🌱I just burst with happiness when I read Jummy’s boarding school adventures, and for good reason too - not just because the girls regularly make up songs about and joyfully sing together - they remind me of my own boarding school days and living with Nigerian families in my youth. The stories are infused with many different delicious Nigerian meals that make my mouth water, the clothing some of the teachers and children wear are amazing, and you’ll learn a few words of Yoruba language too. It’s the final term of Form One at River School, and there’s a new girl on the bus called Dongo who Jummy is immediately impressed with when she stands up to the ‘Atlantic Four’ (ie the mean girls)!


🌱The River School is splendent with breathtaking new flower gardens when the girls arrive and respectful to the Seniors who are busy with their final exams, they get settled in. There’s a problem though, their beloved Shine-Shine River utterly stinks, and their adored Leke Leke birds (small white egrets with yellow beaks) are nowhere to be seen. What’s more there’s a water shortage!! The girls are strictly limited to one bucket of water a day brought to them by the local Fire Chief!!


🌱Ever brilliant at solving mysteries, the girls get an opportunity for some sleuthing when they head up to the corn fields for the inter-House competition to grow the most impressive corn by the end of term. The field borders the Redbrick Bakery. Clue #1: there doesn’t seem much evidence of a drought here. Clue #2: the new owner Mr Hassan seems rather too big for his boots especially when the North vs South of the river rowing competition is announced and he is going to row for the North! Using their instincts and imagination the girls come up with a plan to investigate by starting a Press Club for the rather amusingly titled ‘The Daily Bongafish’…


🌱Teamwork, bravery and determination win the day. Underpinning the water shortage mystery is Dongo’s heartfelt back story, her passion and gift for rowing, and being accused of thefts in the school. As always there is so much excitement and justice to be served in a River School story - the many uplifting moments far outweigh the lows. I VERY MUCH hope and pray that the author will take her readers through to Jummy’s own graduation in this much-loved series.


Time to Shine at the River School by Sabine Adeyinka with illustrations Hanako Clulow (Chicken House Books, 2023) For ages 8+. I just burst with happiness when I read Jummy’s Nigeria-based boarding school adventures. In this sequel to ‘Jummy at the River School’ the girls discover their beautiful river has an awful rotting stench and the wildlife is dying!! Once again there’s a mystery to solve with bravery and teamwork (and some very motivating songs). A highly-recommended series for children moving into chapter books without illustrations.
Words © Sabine Adeyinka + Illustrations © Hanako Clulow

About the creators


Sabine Adeyinka (author)

Author, Sabine Adeyinka

Sabine Adeyinka was born in England to a Nigerian dad and Jamaican mum. She grew up in Nigeria where she spent the most memorable time in boarding school from the age of eleven. As a young girl, she loved reading novels about boarding schools from around the world and longed to tell the stories of her own exciting experience. Sabine’s favourite pastime is writing stories about memories of the landscape, food and people of her childhood. She now lives in London with her husband and two children.


Hanako Clulow (illustrator)

Illustrator, Hanako Clulow

Hanako studied for a degree in Psychology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, before her passion for art re-emerged and led her to pursue a life as an illustrator. She started off her career at several London markets selling her illustration prints, t-shirts and greeting cards before she signed with illustration agency Pickled ink.


After becoming a mother of two children in Japan, she and her family moved to New Zealand in 2014. She now works from home in Titirangi in Auckland. Her clients include Caterpillar Books, 360 Degrees, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, Oxford University Press, Benesse Holdings and Ronshin.


Hanako enjoys drawing simple and bold character designs that appeal to children. Her projects have ranged from board books to illustrated non-fiction books and children’s clothing.



Key themes

Nigeria

boarding school

adventure

mystery

taking care of nature

justice

friendship


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Publication date: 11 May 2023

Format: Paperback


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