Ronyell's Reviews > Drummer Hoff

Drummer Hoff by Barbara Emberley
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's review
Aug 28, 10

bookshelves: caldecott-medal, summer-100-book-challenge-2010, weston-woods
Read in August, 2010

“Drummer Hoff” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book by Barbara Emberley along with illustrations by Ed Emberley and it is a folk verse that details the making of a cannon as each soldier brings a part to make the cannon. “Drummer Hoff” may have colorful illustrations and a catchy folk verse, but the story might be too bland for smaller children to handle.

I will admit that Barbara Emberley’s folk verse was pretty creative, especially when the different parts of the cannon rhymes with the names of the soldiers such as, “General Border” rhyming with “order” and “Major Scott” rhyming with “shot.” I am sure that many children who love repetitive verses will definitely enjoy repeating the various parts of the cannon that each soldier brings out over and over again. Ed Emberley’s illustrations are the true highlights of this story as they are simplistic yet extremely colorful. The characters are plastered against a white background with a straight lined grass on the bottom of the pages. My favorite image out of this whole book was the image of Drummer Hoff himself as he is mostly seen standing on the right side of the pages drumming the drum as each soldier comes by and attaches a part to make the cannon whole.

One of the problems I had with this book was that the story seemed kind of bland. This is one of those books where it focuses on the folk verse rather than the plot, but unlike Dr. Seuss’ work, the story is not that spectacular enough to hold interest to some children. It is just basically about a group of soldiers building a cannon, even though I think that it was interesting to see how a cannon is built and what parts are needed to build a cannon. The only thing that I found interesting about the story is that the soldiers’ names rhyme with the parts of the cannon that they bring to build the cannon, which I found myself always repeating to myself with glee since I love books that have a rhyming sequence, which is why I am a huge fan of some of Dr. Seuss’ works. Also, the ending of this book seems a little bit too confusing since there was not anymore to tell about after they made the cannon. I will not reveal what happened at the ending, but I will say that there could have been more to say after the soldier built the cannon.

I think that “Drummer Hoff” did have an interesting folk verse, especially with the rhyming schemes and the illustrations were extremely colorful, but all in all, the story felt too plain to have a “wow” effect on the audience and I would probably recommend this book to children who love folk verses.

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