Age Range: 4 to 7
Anna Hibiscus lives in amazing Africa and her stories reflect the culture and traditions of the country but also show her engaging in activities that are enjoyed throughout the world. Splash, Anna Hibiscus! is the story of Anna Hibiscus’ day at the beach, an activity that we also enjoy.
The Story: Anna Hibiscus is at the beach with her family. She wants somebody to come and splash in the waves with her but everybody is busy playing, talking, sleeping or plaiting. When there is nobody left to ask, Anna Hibiscus goes into the sea and splashes on her own. Her laughter attracts her family’s attention and it isn’t long before the rest of the family are splashing in the waves with her.
Splash, Anna Hibiscus! includes members of Anna Hibiscus’ extended family and is a joyful portrayal of a family day out. Traditional African hair plaiting is shown alongside aspects of modern life as Anna Hibiscus’ older cousins are busy with their mobile phones. The family members are all engaged in different activities but come together at the end of the story in a lovely scene of togetherness and enjoyment.
Dialogue moves the action along and introduces everybody’s reasons for not being able to splash in the sand (the exception being Grandma and Grandpa who are snoring under their newspapers!). I love the repetitive description of the laughing waves and my daughter joins in with the repetition as we read. The waves are personified as they play with Anna Hibiscus, they splash and jump with her. The double spread illustrations are colourful, the beach is long with clean, golden sand and a blue sky and you can almost feel the heat of the day emanating from the page.
The Anna Hibiscus stories are a lovely way of introducing children to life in Africa and provide stimulus for discussion about culture and traditions. We have several connections to Africa through friends and family and Anna Hibiscus’ stories give my daughter insights into the experiences that our friends and family have had. As a parent in a multicultural family I haven’t found many stories where the parents come from two different cultures (Anna Hibiscus’ mother is Canadian and her father is African) so it is great to have the situation represented in a picture book.
Splash, Anna Hibiscus! is an enjoyable story about a day at the beach and a great book to support the multicultural curriculum.
We enjoyed this story so much that we’re looking forward to reading Anna Hibiscus, an early chapter book.