What's Cooking, Jamela?

Overview

"Who could resist playful, imaginative Jamela?" — School Library Journal

When Mrs. Zibi arrives to prepare the Christmas meal, Jamela decides to save Christmas, her chicken, from going into the cooking pot. She sets off with the chicken in her arms . . . and a trail of chaos follows. Suddenly it's Jamela, not the chicken, who is in hot water. But, as Jamela proclaims on Christmas's behalf, "You can't eat friends!"

This boisterous Yuletide story...

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Overview

"Who could resist playful, imaginative Jamela?" — School Library Journal

When Mrs. Zibi arrives to prepare the Christmas meal, Jamela decides to save Christmas, her chicken, from going into the cooking pot. She sets off with the chicken in her arms . . . and a trail of chaos follows. Suddenly it's Jamela, not the chicken, who is in hot water. But, as Jamela proclaims on Christmas's behalf, "You can't eat friends!"

This boisterous Yuletide story for all seasons features the same colorful South African township characters who made Jamela's Dress, an ALA Notable Book, such a delight.

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

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The exuberant heroine of Jamela's Dress returns in a new adventure, What's Cooking, Jamela? by Niki Daly, that finds her determined to save Christmas, her pet chicken, from a starring role in the family's holiday meal. In a most satisfactory ending, Mama and Jamela prepare a vegetarian meal for the family instead. The tale opens a window on South African culture, from a school nativity play ("Jamela played Mary and carried baby Jesus on her back like a real mama") to brightly patterned fabrics and a sprinkling of colorful Xhosa and Zulu vocabulary. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Appealing, mischievous Jamela of Jamela's Dress is responsible for caring for the chicken the family is fattening for Christmas dinner. Of course Jamela can't let them cook her "friend." After a wild chase through town, a happy solution to the problem of dinner is found. As the jacket/cover scene of Jamela on the run with her chicken promises, the visual tale is told with joyful vibrancy. Jamela's world is depicted with just enough detail, with a cast of characters drawn with sensitivity to personality and obvious community good will. The universal narrative is spiced with particulars of its South African setting. 2001, Farrar Straus & Giroux, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-The child introduced in Jamela's Dress (Farrar, 1999) is back in another story set in her South African township. When her mother buys a live chicken to fatten up for Christmas dinner and puts Jamela in charge of its care, the girl names it "Christmas" and becomes so attached to it that she can't bear to let it be slaughtered-after all, "you can't eat friends." Energetic and exuberant watercolor artwork highlights Jamela's close-knit family and bustling community. An enjoyable read that children will ask for year-round.-E. M. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When her family purchases a young chicken, Jamela names her Christmas and enthusiastically helps to fatten her up for her namesake holiday. She gives her food and water, talks to her, and gives her gifts. Mama worries about the moment when Jamela will realize that the chicken must be cooked. She is right to worry. Jamela runs away with the chicken, only to lose it in a crowd. A mad chase ensues as Mama, Jamela, and Mrs. Zibi (the would-be chicken killer) attempt to recapture Christmas as she runs through the market, in and out of a taxi, and into Miss Style Hairdressers. Of course, Christmas is saved, because "You can't eat friends." Daly (Bravo, Zan Angelo!, 1998, etc.) seamlessly interweaves elements of the culture and language of a modern South African township in both the lively text and delightful, detailed illustrations. Jamela plays with African carved figures and animals, as well as a Mickey Mouse toy. The school nativity play includes Basuto hats, Madiba shirts, marimbas, and the baby carried on its mama's back. The market is full of color and movement. A warm, close-knit family and community lovingly nurture Jamela. All the characters, major and minor, are drawn as distinct individuals with expressive faces and body language. The entire work is carefully crafted, from the chickens running across the endpapers to the glossary that clarifies word origins and meanings. But it is Jamela who is the star. She is mischievous, boisterous, loving, generous, worried, determined, even defiant, and it's all there in her face. This little girl is a charmer and so is her story. (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374356026
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 10/8/2001
  • Series: Jamela Series
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Pages: 36
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.68 (w) x 11.86 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Niki Daly is the creator of many acclaimed picture books, including Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with his wife, the illustrator Jude Daly.

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