The "Akissi" series is similar to "Aya de Yopougon," which Abouet also authored. Akissi, like Aya, is a young girl living in Yopougon, Ivory Coast. Akissi, however, is about six years old, with the series targeting a much younger audience.
"Akissi: Attaque de chats" consists of seven mini stories. The themes and storyline are quite childish, mostly revolving around Akissi fighting with her older brother Fofana. Despite her young age, Akissi is one tough little girl. She's adventurous, confident and stubborn. In one story she's determined to prove to her brother and his friends that she, a girl, can play soccer. In another story she comes home covered with bruises and a black eye after fighting to save her beloved pet, a monkey, from becoming a neighbor's dinner.
Even if it's supposed to target young people, I still found myself laughing out loud. I thought the title story was great. Akissi's mother asks her to bring a sack of fish to a family friend. When giving her directions, instead of giving her street names, they are more like: Go to the blue house, turn left, when you pass the woman selling fried donuts, keep straight. You'll see the tailor's store on the right..." Even in Burkina's capital of Ouaga, directions were pretty much explained in this exact way. Akissi of course gets lost, and reminded me of the countless times I found myself wandering the streets of Ouaga, trying to find the damn red door next to the woman selling peanuts.
The book also received thumbs up from Elisée. I caught him snickering out loud and when he was finished he said that he experienced many of the things mentioned in the book as a child growing up in the Ivory Coast. One story mentions two movies that Elisée says were incredibly popular when he was a kid and watched countless times. The book also mentions the word "Kokota", meaning when another kid hits you on top of your head with their knuckle, which he remembered suffering from quite often.
I have a feeling "Akissi" will be another hit in the library, and hopefully will bring in younger readers.