There’s a lot of fun to be had as lyrical rhymes and mixed-media illustrations make the growing menagerie of passengers feel both vibrantly stylized and realistically depicted. East Africa is presented richly and distinctly in López’s dynamic artwork, but the overall experience of riding and building community on the daladala is not only accessible, but easily familiar to much of the world in this charming story.
Khan and López take readers on a uniquely East African journey toward a global sense of compassion and inclusion.
– Kirkus Reviews, STARRED, September 1, 2021
The zippy anapestical rhymes are laced with dramatic emphasis (playfully signaled by the font) and touches of repetition as well as the entertaining cumulation. A fresh and gorgeous outing all its own, eminently suitable to get giggles from kids doing their own complaining about close quarters.
– BCCB *STARRED REVIEW*, September 1, 2021
This irrepressible story in verse by newcomer Khan is simultaneously a counting book and a study in generosity of spirit. López (I Am Smoke) brings bright color, fine draftsmanship, and communal warmth to jovially packed spreads. Even the characters’ robes and the attractive chaos of the things they carry are captured with care in this affirming portrait set in East Africa.
– Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW*, August 30, 2021
Based on a “fantastically fun daladala ride” that author Naaz Khan once took in Zanzibar, Room for Everyone is an entertaining and bighearted joyride of a picture book that features fabulous illustrations by Mercè López.
Musa and his sister climb aboard a daladala, a type of Tanzanian minibus, heading to the shore “to feast on fish at the Friday bazaar by the blue crystal waters of Zanzibar.” The bus and Khan’s pleasing prose bounce along rhythmically. The text is full of satisfying alliteration, flowing dialogue and rhyming couplets that are a delight to read aloud.
[A]s they travel along, the driver spots people in need of a ride and yells, “It’s hotter than peppers out there in the sun! Come in, there’s room for everyone!”…. By the time the daladala finally reaches the shore, it’s packed with people, fish, chickens, large kitenge umbrellas, coconuts, a team of scuba divers and much more. López’s delicate, fine-lined drawings are expressive and dynamic, filled with movement and momentum.
– BookPage *STARRED*, October 25, 2021
*"Young Musa and his sister hop aboard the daladala that will drive them from town to the Zanzibar shore. The vehicle is already crowded; nevertheless, when the driver sees an elderly man walking his bike, he stops. “It’s hotter than peppers out there in the sun! / Come in, there’s room for everyone!” offers the driver, which becomes the text’s lively and welcoming refrain. As more and more people—and goods and livestock and milk pails and open umbrellas and stinky fish—board the daladala, Musa expresses his dismay: “‘But, Dada,’ said Musa, ‘can there really be / enough room for a cycle, two goats, and me?’” His sister reminds him—and without a hint of didacticism—that there’s always room for another person in need (yes, even scuba-diving tourists). Khan’s rhymes are electric, her wordplay flawless, and her sound effects entertaining to say aloud. López’s (Lion of the Sky, rev. 3/19) marvelous illustrations, in acrylic, ink, graphite, and digital media, employ a multitude of patterns and textures, hustling and bustling right along with the constant, colorful activity."
– The Horn Book, starred review