jumanji book

Jumanji, by Chris Van Alsburg, originally published in 1981. A Caldecott medal winning book.

Jumanji is a children’s picture book, one that I chose to use this spring in our class of 2nd and 3rd graders. The art work in it is certainly worthy of the honor bestowed on it, but more than that, it’s a very entertaining book.

If your only familiarity with Jumanji is what you’ve seen or heard about because of the motion picture, you don’t know Jumanji. A standard 32 page children’s picture book, this is much more captivating to the imagination of young readers than the motion picture, because it offers them the opportunity to imagine, “What if…”

When Peter and Judy’s parents leave them at home for the afternoon with strict instructions not to make a mess of the house because company is coming later, the brother and sister begin searching their toys for amusement. It isn’t long before they both lament their boredom and decide to go play at the park.

At the park they find an old and mysterious looking wooden board game which they take back home to play. They aren’t convinced that it will relieve their boredom any more than all their other toys, but at least it’s different. As most reading here are no doubt aware, the jungle adventure game turn out to be much more than Peter and Judy bargained for. What’s worse, they can’t escape the adventure until one of them wins the game!

While I usually try to choose picture books with a rich historical context built in, this is one I chose purely fr the fun and imagination factor and it didn’t disappoint.

We rarely read picture books at home, but this one inspired me to mix a few more into my 2nd grader’s rotation rather than shut them out in my zeal to ensure that she is reading quality books. There are fun picture books that can pique the imagination and which are not twaddle. Jumanji is one, which is why I am reviewing it and recommending it here.

Grade: A

Content advisory: A bit of mayhem and thrill moments as the children dodge lions and snakes while trying to finish the game.



One thought on “Jumanji

  1. Elspeth says:

    I’m currently making my way through Vanity Fair at Hearthie’s recommendation. It’s a big book (albeit a good one), so it’s taking a while but I hope to review it before too long.

    Liked by 1 person

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