Children's Bookshelf: Baby Goes To Market

Jan 22, 2018

“Baby Goes to Market,” written by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank is an adorable tale set in South West Nigeria for young children 3-7 years of age.  The musicality of the words along with the detailed and colorful illustrations are captivating.

The darling little big-eyed Baby does what comes naturally when he goes to market with his Mama riding in her back pack---he is cute! As Mama buys necessary staples such as rice, palm oil and a new pair of flip flops Baby makes sure he catches the attention of the other sellers. Consequently, entirely unknown to Mama, Baby is given many wonderful things to eat. The banana seller likes Baby’s curiosity and gives him six bananas. He eats one and places five in the basket that rides smartly atop Mama’s head. The orange seller thinks Baby could be hot so she gives him five juicy oranges. Baby eats one and places four in Mama’s basket. The biscuit seller thinks Baby is cheerful so he gives him four sugary biscuits. Baby eats one and places three in the basket and so on.

Children will love the fact that each time Baby gets something he eats one piece and places the rest in Mama’s huge basket. The reader and Baby are in on this joke from the beginning but not Mama. When she discovers that she has many items in her basket that she has not purchased she is shocked. All is well, though, when the sellers tell her they gave these items to Baby. But the fun does not stop there as Mama hurriedly hails a motorcycle taxi to drive Baby home. Quoting from the book: “Poor Baby!” says Mama. “He’s not had one single thing to eat!”

The engaging illustrations are wrapped colorfully in bright oranges, deep sea blues and loud yellows. The pictures are awash in engaging details and patterns that bring forth the sights, sounds and tasty smells of this busy West African marketplace.

“Baby Goes to Market,” written by Nigerian storyteller Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank is a fun-filled trip to market for 3-7 year olds (Candlewick Press, 2017).  

“Baby Goes to Market” Questions and Activities

The market in this story is very busy. Look closely at each illustration and see if you can play an “I spy” game and find the following items: a bus, palm trees, melons, bananas, a black rooster, oranges, tomatoes, a baby’s blue sandal, a pineapple, cookies, sweet corn, kitchen brushes, a wheelbarrow, flip flops, a motorcycle and an umbrella.

How many things did Baby eat while he was at the market? Count them by yourself or with the help of a parent or grandparent. How many items did he place in his Mama’s basket during this trip to the market? Again, add them up yourself or with help from a parent or grandparent. What tasty item available in this market is your favorite? Draw and color a picture of this favorite tasty item.

The market in this story is in West Africa. Have you ever been to an outdoor market? If so, what did your family buy there? How does your market look like  the market in this book? How does your market look different from the one in this book?

Mama as well as many of the women in this story carry what they buy in a basket that sets on top of their head. This takes a lot of practice. Find a small to medium size basket in your house with the help of your Mom and try walking with it on your head. Start slowly and have fun!