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The Picture Book Buzz

The Giant Jumperee - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Wandering through my bookstore , I found a new book from the creator of The Gruffalo. Illustrated by the amazing Helen Oxenbury, this is truly a great find.

The Giant Jumperee

Author: Julia Donaldson

Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (2017)

Ages: 3-5 years



Friendship, mystery, and childish humor.

Synopsis (From Barnes & Noble):

Two of the world's most celebrated picture book creators, Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury, team up for the first time in this jaunty animal fable for fans of Room on the Broom and We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

Rabbit arrives home one day to hear a loud voice coming from inside his burrow:

"I'm the Giant Jumperee and I'm scary as can be!" shouts the stranger.

Rabbit's friends Cat, Bear, and Elephant come to help, but they're no match for the mysterious, booming voice. But who is the Giant Jumperee?

Opening Lines:

Rabbit was hopping home one day when he heard a loud voice coming from inside his burrow.

"I'm the GIANT JUMPEREE and I'm scary as can be!"

"Help! Help!" cried Rabbit.

"What's the matter, Rabbit?" asked Cat.

"There's a Giant Jumperee in my burrow!" said Rabbit.

"Don't worry," said Cat.

"I'll slink inside and pounce on him!"

Why I Like This Book:

The cover image of four animal friends raptly attentive to each other snared my eye immediately. Along with Julia & Helen's names across the top. The unique, made-up word "Jumperee" is fun to say and intriguing. The shadowy, sepia toned end papers of rabbit coming home and then the friends heading off for tea are captivating.

Using Large font, caps, and a rhyming refrain, the Giant Jumperee scares Rabbit, Cat, Bear, and Elephant. So, Mama frog, hands on hips, stares into the burrow's entrance. She commands the Jumporee to come out by the count of three, as the other animals back away and cower in fear. Her crossed arms and rolled eyes, as her baby frog jumps from the burrow declaring "I'm the GIANT JUMPREREE," are so perfect. Though tricked and scared, the amusement on the animals faces at discovering the baby frog's joke is priceless.

The consistent refrain of the scared animals and the rhyming refrain of the Jumperee will have kids joining in the fun. Combined with an amazing range of facial expressions and body language this a book that will be enjoyed through multiple reads. The story ends with a beautiful wordless spread celebrating friendship. It's definitely a treasure for kids, but also as a mentor text in tight concise writing and gorgeous visual storytelling.

Related Activities:

- begin with the title and cover ~ Can they guess what a Jumporee is? What might happen in a story with a Jumporee?

- compare and contrast the young frog to other tricksters [mouse in Guffalo; hen in Stone Soup; or Flossie in Flossie and the Fox; etc)

- talk about a trick played on yourself or you played on another. How did you feel? How did they feel?

- perform the story as a play.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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