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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Elelenma and the Ant Queen: A West African Tale by Nneoma Ike-Njoku is the story of three friends - Elelenma, Olariche and Bokobo - who are so close that people always think they are sisters. The Prince is looking for a bride and these friends decide to find out who is the prettiest. In those days mountains, plants, trees and insects also spoke. They ask the mountain and the sea and both say that, although all of them are pretty, Elelenma is the prettiest. The other two get jealous and push Elelenma into a hole and go back home. Elelenma meets the Ant Queen there, who decides to help her. Will Elelenma be able to get out of the hole? Will the Prince be able to see Elelenma?
The story is very Cinderella-like but original and delightful. It's also a story of kindness and takes readers to an entirely new world where insects, plants, animals, and trees talk. The illustrations are colorful and adorable, and give pace and movement to the story. They also breathe life into the characters. The book is a good bedtime storybook and is also good for read aloud sessions in classrooms and school libraries.
Books with a concept, idea, moral and message are always good for kids as it is the easiest way to teach them new things. Apart from conveying the message of kindness, the story also teaches readers to forgive. It is a book that will put a smile on readers' faces.