Happy Birthday, Jamela!

Overview

What Jamela wants for her birthday is a pair of beautiful princess shoes. What she gets instead is clunky, practical school shoes. Jamela is definitely disappointed, but with glitter, beads, and glue - and a burst of inspiration - she transforms her present into a funky, fun work of art. Mama thinks Jamela's handiwork is a waste of hard-earned money . . . until a local artist helps Jamela tap the full potential of her spirited creativity.

Vibrant illustrations animate a sunny ...

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Overview

What Jamela wants for her birthday is a pair of beautiful princess shoes. What she gets instead is clunky, practical school shoes. Jamela is definitely disappointed, but with glitter, beads, and glue - and a burst of inspiration - she transforms her present into a funky, fun work of art. Mama thinks Jamela's handiwork is a waste of hard-earned money . . . until a local artist helps Jamela tap the full potential of her spirited creativity.

Vibrant illustrations animate a sunny and satisfying story set in South Africa about embracing the imagination and also about feelings and situations that often arise at birthdays and other gift-giving occasions.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Borges
Children love birthday celebrations and they will immediately be drawn to this charming story about Jamela and her desire for sparkling birthday party shoes. In anticipation of her seventh birthday, Mama takes Jamela shopping for a party dress and new shoes. Although Jamela finds the perfect party shoes, Mama decides to get Jamela a pair of strong practical black school shoes to go with her new party dress. At the store Jamela hides her disappointment, but at home in her room when she takes the school shoes out if their box, she suddenly has an idea. Jamela decides to turn her newly purchased black shoes into party shoes by gluing on shiny beads and bits of glitter from her special collection of sparkly bits. Lily, the neighborhood artist, loves Jamela's shoe creation and asks her to make more decorated shoes to sell at her stall at the market. The shoes sell like hotcakes! Set in Cape Town, South Africa, Jamela's story is a universal and charming tale of disappointment and reward that will appeal to young readers. Through the lively illustrations in this delightful book, readers experience the South African culture. Clothing is colorful and patterned, chickens wander freely throughout the house, people shop in open air markets, and there are several phrases in Xhosa, the native language. From start to finish children will enjoy this playful and imaginative story about Niki Daly's loveable character, Jamela.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This latest story about Jamela has all of the charm of the previous books. Here, the child is looking forward to her birthday and a shopping trip with her mother and grandmother. She gets a new dress but when she spies a perfect pair of sparkly Princess Shoes, she is told they are not practical and that she must choose something sensible enough for school. The sturdy black shoes she gets are not glamorous-until Jamela decorates them with sparkly beads and glitter. Her mother and Gogo are upset that she has ruined them, but when a local merchant wants her to create more of her special "Jamela Shoes" to sell in the market, their anger subsides. The child proudly earns enough money to pay her mother back for her school shoes and is later rewarded with a special birthday surprise. Daly's exuberant watercolors are full of vitality. Details reflect South African life and culture, and the text is lightly sprinkled with Xhosa phrases. A wonderful addition to multicultural collections, this book would be a good choice for a birthday read-aloud or as part of a unit on saving or earning money.-Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Creative Jamela's desire for a pair of fancy shoes leads to complications. In Daly's fourth tale about the young South African girl, Jamela goes shopping for clothes with Mama and Gogo (grandmother) shortly before her seventh birthday. She spots some sparkly Princess Shoes, but Mama insists on a sensible black pair for school. Back home, Jamela can't resist making the black shoes prettier with beads and glitter and glue from her box of treasures. Mama is visibly upset when she sees them, but an artist neighbor named Lily takes one look at Jamela's "fabulous" shoes and suggests they team up for a project. At the market that weekend, the duo's sparkly shoes sell like hotcakes, and Jamela earns enough to replace those she hastily decorated, proudly handing the money over to Mama. At her birthday party, Jamela gets both the Princess Shoes she had coveted and a black pair for school. Daly's warm illustrations support his persuasive premise that it takes a village to raise a child. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374328429
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/8/2006
  • Series: Jamela Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.69 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

NIKI DALY, a Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee, has written and illustrated many acclaimed picture books, including three previous tales about Jamela and her family, one of which - Jamela's Dress - was an ALA Notable Book. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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