Review: Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe

Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe

Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe (9781481480390)

Pokko’s quiet frog parents had made a big mistake giving her the drum. When they tried to discuss it together, they couldn’t hear themselves. So Pokko’s father sends her outside with the drum, asking her to play quietly and not draw attention from anyone. So Pokko heads out quietly. The forest is very quiet, too quiet. So Pokko starts to play her drum. Another animal joins in and follows Pokko. More animals join until they have a parade of music. Back home, it’s lunch time. Pokko’s father listens for her and faintly hears music that is coming closer. He’s about to discover that Pokko can really play that drum!

Forsythe has created a book that is a complete delight. While telling the story of the rather loud and very brave Pokko, he also gives readers moments where the story pauses. These are moments like seeing other gifts Pokko’s parents have given her, like the slingshot and the llama. Forsythe isolates these moments giving them entire pages and time to have real impact. The same happens when Pokko must confront the fox who is eating others in the band. The overall storytelling is just as strong, offering a folktale feel with a modern twist.

The illustrations are done in watercolor, gouache and colored pencil. They have a gorgeous sunlit quality to them that is saturated and rich. They use patterns and colors to great effect as well.

Unique and lovely, this is one to beat the drum for! Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Simon & Schuster.

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