Title: The Dimpsey Chronicle
Author: Erumena Amata
It is often said that any children’s books that cannot be enjoyed by even an adult is a bad children’s book. The Dimpsey chronicles, a children’s book written by Erumena Amata is not just a book that only children enjoy but adults alike. It gives us an account of little Dimpsey whose real name is Efretua about how she got her name because of the peculiar dimples she was born with. Her childhood becomes a subject of interest because she lives with grownups. As it is with all children of Dimsey’s age, her innocence, curiosity and her dream of the ideal or fantasy world were all put to test in one way or the other. But through her many mistakes, she learns a newer lesson which is peculiar of a child-like quality and behavioural trait.
At Five years of age Dimsey will no longer sleep with Mummy and Daddy, in her curiosity, she learns that as a grownup, she needed to give Mummy some privacy as the author puts it succinctly:
“Dimpsey was turning five and her parents felt she was old enough to sleep in her own room”.
However, the surprise of having to leave in her room all by herself comes with difficulty for poor little Dimpsey who must keep her promise before she can get a favourite Birthday present and also get the opportunity of inviting her friends to come over.
One can hardly miss the Nanny Mc Phee’s approach to teaching naughty kids how to be well behaved by disconnecting their access to some of the things they loved so much. Dimsey’s mother and Principal employed both the play way and Strict methodology to bringing naughty kids to order. Amata also experiments the child learning lessons by herself by giving her characters the opportunity to explore breaking of school rules and facing its consequences alone and learning a memorable lesson from it which is typical of what we see from the “Tales by moonlight” and stories of Morales told us by our old wise one.
Dimpsey takes to school her pink music box to be played with by each of the kids for a token. An idea that was conceived by Iyorin without the knowledge of the school authority or by any of their parents. Dimpsey learns never to keep such sensitive secret ever again as she also learns that through her music box, the school authority decides to be creative by inviting all five kids for an excellent performance for their school end of year party which they may not be allowed to participate after all for breaking yet another unforgivable rules.
Erumena’s fusion of the African Moonlight tales as well as that of the Disney is a super creative approach to bridging the gap between the digital space and the oral African traditional art of storytelling. The author uses an edifying method to caution parents on how to change bad behaviours of their kids as well as creating an opportunity for the child to learn how to behave maturely. Throughout the story, there is no use of the whip either by her parent nor her teachers; only a stroke of strict measures for compliance.
It is important to note that the use of local games as illustrated by the author is fast fading for kids of today’s generation. It takes Iyorin to come all the way from the village to teach Dimsey how to play the rubber game as opposed to the Cynderella and other fancy Pink Music Box which and her country friends are used to. Another striking element of the book is the use of pidgin language as opposed to Queens English used by Dimsey.
In the end, we are taking by the revelation of how Dimsey and her cousin got lost in an unknown door that has been in the house for ages. They open it and found the rubber tree just as the door shut against them. Will Dimpsey and her friend return, will her parents ever find out they were stuck out there inside the rubber tree forest? The suspense creates our curiosity as we learn more to read a possible book Two of the Dimpsey Chronicles.
I personally think the author should provide some sketch of illustration as the book may be bulky for children’s read and can wear them off if there is no parental supervision to guide them to read the book.
Erumena has in this book yet again shown to us the creative dexterity of the Amata family.