________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 6 . . . . November 10, 2006

cover

Jungle School. (Green Bananas). 

Elizabeth Laird & Roz Davison. Illustrated by David Sim.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB).
ISBN 0-7787-1042-4 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-1026-2 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
People with disabilities-Juvenile fiction.
Wheelchairs-Juvenile fiction.
Monkeys-Juvenile fiction. 

Kindergarten-grade 1 / Age 5-6. 

Review by Lisa O'Hara. 

**** /4 

In Jungle School, Elizabeth Laird and Roz Davison tell the story of Jani's experiences at a new school. The book is split into three chapters, making it "Three stories in one!" as advertised on the cover, and also making it an easy chapter book for children learning to read.  The words are a bit longer, and there are more sentences on a page than in some beginning readers, but the pages are all filled colorful and fun illustrations by David Sim. 

     Jungle School is about a monkey named Jani who uses a wheelchair and is starting at a new school. In the first story, Jani is feeling a bit shy about being the new girl:

    "Do you mind people staring at you?" asked Olivia?
     
    "New girls always get stared at," said Jani. "Sometimes it's OK and I feel like a movie star."
     
    "But sometimes it's rude, and I don't like it at all."
     

    In the second story, Jani can't do the same gym activities as the other children and so she races around in her wheelchair instead:

    Jani didn't stop until she was tired out.
     
    "I really like your chair," said Olivia.
     
    "So do I," said Jani. "It's what makes me me."
     
     
     

     The third story doesn't focus on the wheelchair at all, but instead it has the children playing dress up with Jani dressing up as the teacher and earning the title "cheeky monkey." 

     In these stories, Laird and Davison have succeeded in showing that the wheelchair is not what defines the person in it. Jani has feelings every child would have whether s/he is in a wheelchair or not, including feelings of pride in her abilities, shyness at being the new child at school and a sense of humour. 

Highly Recommended. 

Lisa O'Hara is a mother of three and librarian in Winnipeg, MB.   

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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