Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Macmillan Aidan, 2003. 32 p.
ISBN 9987-629-70-9. Ages 8-12.
Publisher: Macmillan Aidan
This story is based on the issue of bad eating habits leading to obesity and laziness. Maua, an overweight schoolgirl, loves junk food bought from the stores by her busy policeman father. When her father has to attend a short course in town, she stays with her aunt, who forces her to eat vegetables, fish, and fruits. Maua avoids these healthy foods, instead buying sweet doughnuts and soda from the nearby shops. Maua cannot concentrate on her schoolwork because she is obsessed with thoughts of junk food and she feels fatigued because of starvation. She neither participates in sports nor helps in household chores, and her schoolmates laugh at her disgraceful figure. After three days with her aunt, she runs out of money, but the craving for junk food is such that she steals from her aunt in order to buy it. The aunt follows her to the store and retrieves the money. This is the turning point in Maua’s life. She is embarrassed and promises to change, because she does not want her father to learn of this incident. She begins eating nutritious food, plays sports, and works. When her father returns, she is light enough to be carried and thrown up in the air!
This story will sensitise young people to the effects of improper nutrition – such as starvation, fatigue, and low IQ. The book includes facts and comprehension questions and answers about diet. The simple but well-written Kiswahili is complemented with full-colour illustrations that accurately portray the story.