From Brazil, a refreshing look at the way democratic elections work.
Lion, the King of the Jungle, wants a swimming pool, but when he diverts all the river water to fill in his front yard, the other animals begin to wonder if he “should not be King of the Jungle.” Deciding they want a new leader, the animals plan to hold an election, and Monkey, Sloth, Snake, and Lion decide they want to be candidates. They campaign and hold debates. Important vocabulary such as “candidate,” “campaign,” and “vote” are set in bold in the friendly typeface, and their definitions are presented in a glossary on the final page. Narrative text combines with dialogue bubbles to keep the pace lively and the concept engagingly simple. The equally friendly-looking illustrations were made using paper cutouts with pencil and charcoal “doodles,” the animals fancifully colored against a largely gray-and-white jungle background. The visual result is casual, integrative, and altogether fun. Together, the words and pictures bring to life a democratic election that is stripped of acrimony, divisiveness, and ignorance and is instead full of engagement, discussion, and earnestness—but not sappiness. Young readers are introduced to the idea of an engaged electorate, a concept whose empowerment will hopefully stay with them as they age.
A fun, lively, accessible primer on the democratic process (good for weary adults, too). (Picture book. 4-8)