From the toad to the throne: A brief review of Kekere

  • Author/ Publisher  Lantern Books

    Title                Kekere

    Country           Nigeria

    Language        English

    Genre              Children’s Fiction (Lantern Fairy Tales)

    Category         Pre-teen

    Year of Publication  2014 by Lantern Books

    Pages             46

    ISBN               978-100-590-9

    Plot summary

    The story starts with the experience of a young woman who is barren but wants a child badly. On her way to the market on a sunny afternoon, she meets an old man who begs her for food and water. After feeding him, the old man gives her a seed to plant and he disappears afterwards.

    On getting home the woman plants the seed and to her surprise, the seed grows and on it appears a beautiful flower bud. In the middle of this blossom is a beautiful petite baby. The woman is very happy!

    She names her Kekere and takes good care of her. Sadly, one night, an ugly mother toad steals kekere away to marry to her toad son. Kekere is very sad.

    Some nice fishes help kekere escape from Mother Toad and her son. However, Kekere couldn’t find her way but a kind rabbit allows her stay in her home. Rabbit recommends that kekere marry the rich mole who lives in a hole.

    Although Kekere accepts, her heart is not with him. A bird that kekere has helped in the past offers to fly her away from Mole.

    Surprisingly, Kekere sees another handsome little creature like her. He is the flower prince. The flower prince proposes to Kekere and they get married. Thus, Kekere becomes a princess!

    While flying around one day with her people, Kekere hears the voice of her mother singing her favourite song. She is happy to reunite with her mother after series of adventures. She introduces her husband to her mother and they all live happily ever after.


    Kekere is adapted from “Thumbelina”, a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen first published on 16 December 1835 in Denmark. "Thumbelina" is about a tiny girl and her adventures with appearance- and marriage-minded toads, moles, and cockchafers. She successfully avoids their intentions before falling in love with a flower-fairy prince just her size.

    In the context of this storybook, the word “Kekere” (a Yoruba word) means “the small one”. Thus, Kekere is adapted to an African/Yoruba setting with African/Yoruba cultural flavor.


    The language is moderately simple to understand for kids as most of the words used are five letter words.


    Kekere is an exciting and morally educative story for kids. As a fairy tale, it helps develop kids’ imaginative capacity.

    As a story adapted from a foreign culture, reading Kekere will give African/Nigerian kids a cross cultural experience.

    Also, Kekere (like any other fairy tale) can help parents teach their kids critical thinking skills as it presents a real life issue in a “fantastical scenario”. No wonder, the great Albert Einstein said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

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