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Happy Birthday, Jamela! Hardcover – August 8, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–This latest story about Jamela has all of the charm of the previous books. Here, the child is looking forward to her birthday and a shopping trip with her mother and grandmother. She gets a new dress but when she spies a perfect pair of sparkly Princess Shoes, she is told they are not practical and that she must choose something sensible enough for school. The sturdy black shoes she gets are not glamorous–until Jamela decorates them with sparkly beads and glitter. Her mother and Gogo are upset that she has ruined them, but when a local merchant wants her to create more of her special Jamela Shoes to sell in the market, their anger subsides. The child proudly earns enough money to pay her mother back for her school shoes and is later rewarded with a special birthday surprise. Daly's exuberant watercolors are full of vitality. Details reflect South African life and culture, and the text is lightly sprinkled with Xhosa phrases. A wonderful addition to multicultural collections, this book would be a good choice for a birthday read-aloud or as part of a unit on saving or earning money.–Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Pres-K. In the fourth book about the young Xhosa child growing up in a contemporary South African city, Jamela goes shopping for birthday clothes with Mama and Gogo (grandmother). She buys a nice dress, but Mama insists on practical, black school shoes rather than the sparkly ones Jamela loves. When Jamela decorates the school shoes with lots of glittery beads, Mama is angry, but a neighborhood artist, Lily, thinks the shoes are fabulous, and she and Jamela decorate more and sell them at the local crafts market. Then on Jamela's birthday, there is money for both kinds of shoes. As in Jamela's Dress (1999) and other books by Cape Town writer-artist Daly, the exuberant watercolor pictures show the girl in a vibrant multiracial neighborhood, and kids everywhere will relate to the joyful birthday story--the shopping, the crafts, the dreams, and finally the party with family and friends. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Jamela needs new shoes to go with her new birthday dress.
Well, shoes are expensive, so her mother sensibly nixes the pretty white ones in favor of the black ones suitable for school. Guess who's not happy about that?
Of course, nothing is too much of an obstacle for a kid with a bright idea. She'll just make her school shoes pretty! Now her mother's the unhappy one, right?
Luckily, there's a happy ending - Jamela makes more of her special shoes, sells them at a profit, gives the money to her mom to pay her back for the ruined school shoes, and gets new school shoes for her birthday (she was politely "surprised") and... the not-so-sensible white ones as a *real* surprise.
I can see this happening in my own life, too. It's very true-to-life, I can't recommend it enough.