Chris Van Allsburg’s Jumanji is a peculiar book about a game.  But it’s not just any game.  Jumanji is a real game.  So real, a toss of the dice can bring monkeys into the kitchen, rhinos stampeding through the house, and a lion on the piano.  The only way to win the game is to reach the finish and everything will return to the way it was before.  However, Judy and Peter, the sister and brother playing it, need to hurry up and win before their parents get home.  They were supposed to keep the house tidy, but with the whole house transforming into a jungle and rambunctious animals crashing around, that’s become a bit of a challenge.

Jumanji is one of the several children’s books written by Chris Van Allsburg.  It is the first of his to win a Caldecott Medal (but not his last).  His illustrations are all in black and white, with an intriguing texture about them.  His unique style and perspective may have children gazing at them for hours – possibly adults as well.  It’s no surprise that this book as well as two others by Allsburg have been turned into motion pictures.

Judy and Peter quickly realize that whatever happens in the game happens in their house.  This book will excite children’s imaginations and have them running wild at the thought of their house turning into a jungle.  Though the suggested age range is 5-8, some parents may find the text a little challenging for younger children.



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