Chicken in the Kitchen

Written by Nnedi Okorafor and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini






What would you do if you woke up one night to find the shadow of a giant chicken passing your bedroom door? Go and investigate of course! When Anyaugo follows a giant chicken into her kitchen one warm night in Nigeria, she embarks on a hilarious adventure where nothing is quite as it seems. Is the nature spirit that lives in the wooden walls of her house a help or a hindrance? Is the mischievous giant chicken a friend or a foe? Most importantly, will Anyaugo be able to save the food her aunties have cooked for the New Yam Festival the next day? World Fantasy Award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor provides us with a hugely entertaining look at the fascinating masquerade culture of West Africa, told from the perspective of a plucky young Nigerian girl who finds the courage to protect the traditions she loves.


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‘Best known for her African-based fantasies (Akata Witch, 2011, etc.), Okorafor leaps into the world of picture books in a most unforgettable way with this playful, fascinating tale.’ – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED

“Iranian-British illustrator Amini’s illustrations bring a rough-and-tumble energy to this nighttime adventure. In addition to providing a boisterous story of things that go bump in the night, Okorafor includes just enough information about the New Yam Festival to make unfamiliar readers feel in the know.” – Publishers Weekly

“The multi-talented Okorafor takes us deep into a small Nigerian village, where a young girl named Anyaugo is awakened by a loud sound. The big, bold, sometimes three-dimensional illustrations maintain a folk-art feel while still feeling modern. Each pages pops with bright oranges and reds to contrast the deep browns. An unusual, but quite gregarious, offering.” – Rosie Camargo, ALA Booklist Online

“An entertaining international treat!” – Julie Danielson, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and Kirkus reviewer

‘Brilliant both in concept and in execution… the latest and utterly adorable debut in the African children’s literature scene’ Ainehi Edoro, Brittle Paper.

‘This dazzling picturebook…invites young readers into the story with its glorious colour, its flamboyant design and exuberant characters. A delight.’ – Morag StylesThe School Library journal, vol. 64 no. 1, Spring 2016

‘Bold designs, brilliant colours, humour, lively characterisation all combine to create a picture book that jumps off the shelf.’ – Ferelith HordoniBBYlink journal no. 46, Summer 2016

‘What a joy to experience! Nnedi Okorafor has written a gem of a picture book full of playful mystery, laughs and Nigerian magic. The story awakens readers in the night and then it takes them on a journey to arrive at another surprise by morning. Figuring out the giant chicken in the kitchen is a game readers will enjoy.’ – Jan Spivey Gilchrist, a Coretta Scott King Honor award-winning illustrator.

‘An enchanting, evocatively illustrated adventure that will capture the imaginations of young and old alike – more, please!’ – Ambelin Kwaymullina, award-winning author of The Tribe series.

Chicken in the Kitchen introduces the reader to an enchanting world in which there is a magical chicken, a nature spirit and a pretty courageous little girl. An absolute joy to read.’ African literature blog, Bookshy Books.

Chicken in the Kitchen, Nnedi Okorafor’s first picture book, reflects her talent for intrigue, her Nigerian roots and her Igbo heritage. I highly recommend this book. It provides lessons to be learned about friendship, following directions, respect, responsibility, and courage.’ – Sussie Okoro, Ph.D.Africa Access Review.

‘My little boy wanted me to read it three times in a row. So yeah, I think my kids are in agreement on this: Five Stars.’ – Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author on Goodreads.

‘Mehrdokht Amini’s bold illustrations add to the sense of mystery as the story unfolds. This is an interesting read that is full of humour and we even learned a little about the New Yam Festival and masquerade culture of Nigeria.’ – Kate Eccles, author of popular blog Along Came Poppy

‘A colourful, rich book that promotes conversation about food, culture and adventure.’ – The Happy Book Club

‘An enchanting little story. Fun and enjoyable!’ – Youth Services Book Review (Massachusetts Librarians)

Chicken in the Kitchen is a fascinating, fantastic glimpse of the brilliant, colorful pageantry of a West African, Nigerian Yam Festival. The combination of expert storytelling and fantastic, vivid art make Chicken in the Kitchen a powerful and magical experience that enriches the spirits of all who read it.” – Children’s Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

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