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JUNGLE DRUMS by Graeme Base


by Graeme Base & illustrated by Graeme Base

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8109-5044-8
Publisher: Abrams

The author of The Water Hole (2001) creates elaborately worked scenes of vast African plains and thick jungles, in which lurk disguised creatures and subtle transformations for sharp-eyed young observers to spot. Puny warthog Ngiri plays a set of wish-granting bongos furnished by a wise old wildebeest, only to discover that his never-explicitly-expressed wishes go awry. One morning, the colorful stripes, spots, feathers, and other features decorating the local wildlife have switched over to the formerly plain, ugly warthogs—then the next morning, they’re back again, only on the wrong animals. Hostility levels rise, until Ngiri confesses to the deeds; once he gets things back to normal (but not quite: Base suggests another look), he finds that his own social standing has risen. Not the strongest plot around, but, along with the pleasures of poring over accomplished, sometimes beautiful art for cleverly hidden details, children will be drawn by the silly switcheroos and comical expressions of dismay among the animal cast. (Picture book. 7-9)