Title: Happy Days Ahead
Author: Anuli Ausbeth-Ajagu
Illustrator: Kola Fayemi
Publisher: Lantern Books
Genre: Children’s Fiction (Lantern Adventure)
Publication Year: 2006, revised/reprinted: 2015
Happy Days Ahead by Anuli Ausberth-Agagu centres on the exciting experience of Chinelo, her parents, and her colleagues at school.
The story starts with Chinelo, a seven-year-old daughter of Mr and Mrs Okoli, a middle-class couple living in Ikeja, Lagos. Chinelo’s beautiful dream of riding a bicycle gifted to her is interrupted by her mother who wakes her up to prepare for school.
The day is especially an exciting one for Chi (as she is fondly called) and her friends at school as they have been chosen to go on an excursion. The first place they visit is the Amusement park, Apapa, where they all have fun riding horses, boats, etc.
Next, they visit the National Museum at Onikan, Lagos. Here the pupils are enlightened about the history and culture of their beloved country, Nigeria.
The third and the last place they visit is the governor’s office where the governor’s Personal Assistant welcome them and enlighten them briefly on the system of government. The governor later dines and takes photographs with the kids.
Chinelo and her colleagues are very animated. Afterwards, the pupils are asked to write an essay about the excursion. Chinelo’s essay emerges the best and gets a scholarship from the First Lady. Also, she and her colleagues visit Ibadan Zoo and Yankari Game Reserve for another excursion sponsored by the First Lady.
Luckily, Chinelo’s father also gets a promotion at his workplace and gets a new car. Chinelo and her parents are happy as they travel to their village in the newly acquired car for Christmas.
Happy Days Ahead teaches morals; it portrays, through the character of Chinelo, the virtues of being contented and satisfied with what one has—no matter how little it is. It also motivates and encourages children to be hard working and diligent as good and fantastic rewards await hard working children.
Moreover, the storybook presents the children with a creative narration of the history and culture of Nigeria. Through the children’s visits to historical places such as the Amusement Park, the National Stadium, Ibadan Zoo, Yankari Games Reserve, etc. it enlightens (Nigerian) children about the country’s history and culture. The illustrations are equally stimulating and attractive. Though the story is a bit lengthy (71 pages), the excitement created through series of historical places visited by the characters makes the storybook an entertaining title every kid will love to read.