'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 18 July 2011

Review: Jungle Drums

This book must have been lots of fun to create, with animals changing at the blink of an eye. Or the beat of a drum, as it were.

Ngiri Mdogo is the smallest warthog in Africa. The bigger warthogs always tease him about his size, but really that’s only to detract from their own jealousy of all the other animals who live across the river.

The other animals are colourful and special; some are graceful, others are stripy or spotty or with curly trunks. They’re not plain brown and living in mud like the warthogs.

When Ngiri decides he wants to join the other animals for their annual Grand Parade, where the most beautiful animal is decided, he is laughed at. But when Old Ngumbu the Wildebeest gives him a set of bongo drums with magical powers, Ngiri thinks he might have the last laugh.

He plays the drums and makes his wish and, come morning, the results are obvious. All the warthogs are striped, spotted and colourful, while the other animals are plain and brown. Ngiri tries to wish everything back to normal, but still he doesn’t get it right; now the animals are colourful again, but they’re each wearing the wrong thing.

Will Ngiri’s real wish ever come true?

Jungle Drums is gorgeous, with full colour illustrations and animal characters with such expression and personality that they seem real. Readers feel such empathy for the little warthog that we just want to see him find his way and be included amongst all the other animals.

A fun picture book with loads of personality.

Oh, and of course, some hidden extras in true Base style.

Title: Jungle Drums
Author/Illustrator: Graeme Base
Publisher: Puffin, $19.95 RRP
Publication Date: 2006
Format: Softcover
ISBN: 9780143500964
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture book