The more Chike saw the ferry-boats the more he wanted to make the trip to Asaba. But where would he get the money? He did not know. Still, he hoped.
Eleven-year-old Chike longs to cross the Niger River to the city of Asaba, but he doesn’t have the sixpence he needs to pay for the ferry ride. With the help of his friend S.M.O.G., he embarks on a series of adventures to help him get there. Along the way, he is exposed to a range of new experiences that are both thrilling and terrifying, from eating his first skewer of suya under the shade of a mango tree, to visiting the village magician who promises to double the money in his pocket. Once he finally makes it across the river, Chike realizes that life on the other side is far different from his expectations, and he must find the courage within him to make it home.
Chike and the River is a magical tale of boundaries, bravery, and growth, by Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most beloved and admired storytellers.
Originally published as a children's book and now debuting in the States as a "fable for readers all ages," this light work by the boundlessly talented Achebe follows Chike, an 11-year-old boy whose adventures comprise neat little life lessons. Chike lives in the Nigerian village of Umuofia with his mother and two sisters, and is surrounded by stories, such as that of Sarah, a friend of his mother, who tells Chike of a small bird and the River Niger; the story has a big impact on Chike, who likes to retell it with embellishments of his own, and, more significantly, it implants in Chike a strong desire to see and cross the great Niger. The desire becomes an obsession that leads to a foolish bargain struck with a charlatan and to taking a risk that nearly costs Chike his life. Of course this is one of many lessons that lead to maturity; others stem from mischief Chike gets up to with his friend Samuel, aka S.M.O.G. (Samuel Maduka Obi, with the "G" added just for fun), who teaches Chike how to ride a bicycle and nudges him into various adventures, most with a comic twist. Rodriguez's charming illustrations add texture to a classic children's story.