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Jungle Drums
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About the Author

Graeme Base is one of the world's leading creators of picture books. His alphabet book Animalia, received international acclaim when it was first published in 1986, and has achieved classic status with worldwide sales approaching three million copies. It has now inspired an animated TV series. Other favourites by Graeme Base include The Eleventh Hour, My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch, The Sign of the Seahorse, The Discovery of Dragons, The Worst Band in the Universe,The Waterhole (and The Waterhole Board Book), Jungle Drums and Uno's Garden. In 2007 this last title featured in six major awards and was winner of three- Speech Pathology Book of the Year, younger readers; The Green Earth Book, USA; The Wilderness Society Environment Award. In 2003, his first novel for young readers, TruckDogs, was released. It was short-listed for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards the following year. In 2009 Graeme produced the the fascinating, beautiful and challenging book Enigma; can you crack the code? Graeme's most recent book is The Last King of Angkor Wat. Graeme lives in Melbourne with his artist wife, Robyn, and their three children - James, Kate and Will. Visit graemebase.com

Reviews

K-Gr 2-Being the smallest warthog in Africa is no fun for Ngiri Mdogo who is regularly teased by the other animals. Ngiri is presented with a set of magical bongos by Old Nyumbu the wildebeest, the oldest and wisest animal in the jungle. Ngiri discovers a lesson about "getting what you wish for," and suddenly being the smallest may not be so bad after all. Graeme Base's captivating tale (Abrams, 2004) embraces the age-old lesson of self-acceptance. The author's well-paced and melodious narration complements the story and his British accent is perfect. The recording offers two versions-one with background music and sound effects and the other with narration alone. The scored version will make listeners feel like they have been transported to the African jungle as they are treated to a myriad of sounds including jungle drums, squawking birds, and the occasional trumpeting elephant.-Amy Joslyn, Fairport Public Library, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

In this disconcerting fairy tale, a young warthog uses magic bongos to cast spells on his vain jungle neighbors, and the results are not pretty. Ngiri Mdogo, literally "little warthog" in Swahili, hates being the runt of the forest. " `No spots?' laughs Chui the Leopard. `No stripes?' whinnies Punda Milia the Zebra." Ngiri Mdogo complains to Old Nyumbu the Wildebeest, who lends him two special drums but warns that the outcome is "not always as you expect!" The first time he beats these "jungle drums," the pompous beasts turn neutral beige and lose their identifying features; the elephant no longer has its trunk, nor the rhino its horns. Their markings appear on the other warthogs (not the hero), who proudly parade around the muddy riverbank. Ngiri Mdogo plays the drums again, but the warthogs only transform further into giraffes and zebras, the leopard gets the rhino's gray skin and the elephant acquires leopard spots. Base painted naturalistic, if anthropomorphic, beasts in Animalia, but here he plays mix-and-match with exaggerated, garish cartoon creatures until a third wish restores normality. The book's most engaging aspect is its hide-and-seek game; chameleons, birds and snails flicker in the greenery, and semi-transparent portraits of the wildebeest appear in every spread. The forest yields details, but readers may be put off by the unpleasant discombobulations that beset the main characters. Without the alphabetic format of Animalia and the visual interplay of The Water Hole, the story feels like a hollow vessel for delivering a clich?d message. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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