In a frantic frolic lit up by bright colors and raw physical comedy, an African king’s eager-to-please subjects oblige when he decides to play “cowboy.”
Looking like an orange tribble attached to a pipe-stem body, King Ra Ra enthusiastically dons boots, Stetson and carrot “guns” to become “probably the first Cowboy ever, in Africa.” Following his sudden collision with a tree after an ill-fated attempt to lasso a buffalo, his chortling animal subjects—a pink elephant, a purple giraffe and others with similarly unlikely hues—don silly cow costumes to give him safer targets. This they come to regret after King Ra Ra consults the Cowboy Handbook and learns about “branding,” but after seeing him shoot a derisive insect and fall on his own hot branding iron, all gather around in a final scene to fill a cooling vat with milk from their udders. “Everyone was happy in the jungle!!” The general ridiculousness of all this is enhanced by many tap-activated wriggles, giggles and growls in the cartoon scenes, as well as a particularly animated (optional) narrator who frequently departs from the printed text to deliver warnings or exclamations in a broad Swahili accent.
But along with a spindly plot, the high level of cartoon pseudo-violence and the generic African setting only cause this to bite the dust. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)