Meghan Porter's Reviews > Jumanji

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
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's review
Sep 13, 2011

it was ok

Jumanji is an interesting story about a magical board game. Judy and Peter find a game on their walk through a park and decide to take it home to play. In order to finish the game the kids have to face the perils of the jungle and get to the Golden City of Jumanji and call it's name. While playing they meet lions, monkeys, a lost guide, and a stampede of rhinos. The story is well written, although I found it to be very serialized. The kids roll the dice and something happens then they do it again over and over. The book was in a sense like playing a board game, repetitive and somewhat simple. As I read, I wondered if that is what Chris Van Allsburg was going for when he wrote the book.

As with any Van Allsburg book, the illustrations are wonderful. For every page of text there is an accompanying picture and the picture is a snapshot of any part of the text. For example, on the second opening of the book the illustration shows Peter and Judy running out of the park with the game under Judy's arm which doesn't happen until the last sentence of the text of the facing page. However on the 4th opening of the book the illustration shows Peter "trapping" the lion under his bed. This happens toward the beginning of the text on the facing page. I found it interesting that although the text and story was repetitive, the illustrations were not.

The illustrations were also beautifully detailed. It almost seems that they were made by a computer and not by hand. I have rarely seen hand sketches with charcoal pencils that look this detailed and neat. I feel that it really shows how great of an artist Van Allsburg is and what great work he can do. As an artist I really appreciate Van Allsburg but I'm not sure if I really like him as an author.

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