Reviews /

Yomi and the Power of the Yumboes

Authored by Davina Tijani
Illustrated by Adam Douglas-Bagley
Published by Little Tiger Press Group

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Yomi and the Power of the Yumboes is the second of a new adventure series that includes fantasy, humour and African folklore in a fast-paced story, this time, set in Senegal.

After being initiated into the Sacred Beast League in Book 1, risking everything to save the legendary Ninki Nanka of West African folklore (Yomi and the Fury of the Ninki Nanka), Yomi and her younger brother Kayode are about to embark on a new quest – to save the secret spirit Nkara called Yumboes. Yumboes are tiny, secretive, fairy-like creatures who have the ability to use a type of powerful magic, related to the moon, called Yinza. Yomi wakes one night to hear someone crashing about in the kitchen and discovers a beautiful Yumboe stealing food, who then asks for their help to protect the Yumboe’s secret city. Safara needs Yomi and Kayode to help her restore the Yumoboe’s moonstone to their home in the forest to increase their protection from the human world. From then on, the story becomes an exciting race against time to overcome the dangerous Beast Hunters and save the city.

Once again, we see that Yomi is quick-thinking, smart and brave. Together with her brother’s rather different type of intelligence, they continue to protect the magical world of African folklore and tradition by working together. Their sibling relationship is realistically portrayed and often endearing to the reader.

Taking a more general view of the stories, this series seems to be fighting for the preservation of African cultures, celebrating the uniqueness of each country at a time through language, food and landscape. The dramatic black-and-white illustrations, by Adam Douglas-Bagley, feature throughout the story, bringing the characters and each stage of the narrative to life for younger readers, and may also make the series appealing to more reluctant, or less confident readers.

Teachers may choose to introduce this book alongside some accounts of West African folklore and the rich mythology and wildlife of Senegal, or perhaps some Geography and mapwork. It would also be interesting for children to compare the Yomi books with the Intasimi Warriors series by Shiko Nguru, set in Kenya.

With the stage set for the duo’s next adventure in South Africa in Book 3, Yomi and the Curse of the Grootslang is due to be published on 1st August 2024. Overall, a highly recommended and enjoyable story for Key Stage 2 readers, both in class and as an individual read.