What's Cooking, Jamela?, Paperback

What's Cooking, Jamela? Paperback

Illustrated by Niki Daly

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Mama plans a chicken dinner for Christmas Day, and she gives Jamela the job of fattening up their chicken.

But seeing how happy Jamela is with her hen, she wonders just how she'll get it away from Jamela and into the pot.

Smelling trouble, Jamela sets off the day before Christmas with the chicken in her arms and a trail of chaos follows - in the street, in the taxi, and even in Miss Style's hairdressing salon.

However, as everyone agrees, you can't eat friends, and Christmas Day brings Jamela a delicious meal and the best present of all!

Following the success of Jamela's Dress, this new Jamela book features the same delightful characters set in a South African township.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 36 pages, colour illustrations
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Picture books
  • ISBN: 9780711217058


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I had mixed feelings about this book after reading it. I enjoyed learning about how another country, such as South Africa, prepared for holidays compared to the United States. Most people in the United States do not raise chickens themselves and cook them for Christmas dinner and so I thought this perspective from another culture was engaging. I also liked the book because of the illustrations throughout. The pictures enhanced the story really well by matching well with the text. The text written on each page directly corresponded with the illustrations giving the reader a clear idea of what was occurring throughout the story and keeps the reader engaged. However, I did not like the language used throughout the story. Although I am usually a fan of author's adding in words of a different language in a story for authenticity, the author for this story did not make clear what the foreign words meant. The word "meilies" was a reoccurring word throughout the text. I figured it was a type of feed for the chickens, since that is what the illustrations suggested, but the context clues were never quit clear on what they actually were. These words would definitely be difficult for children reading the text to figure out their meaning and I wish it was made clear of what the foreign language words were trying to say and what language they derived from. Overall, the main message of this book is that you "can't eat friends," as Jamela would say. The dinner goes on without the chicken and Jamela is quite happy.