Looking for a Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste

Cover image for Looking for a Jumbie.

Looking for a Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Amber Ren (9780062970817)

When night comes, Naya doesn’t want to go to bed, she wants to find a jumbie. A jumbie is a creature from Caribbean tales rather like fairies or trolls. After being tucked into bed, Naya heads outside to find a jumbie. A voice in the woods asks her what a jumbie looks like, so Naya explains that a Douen has a big mouth and backward feet. The creature who had asked her the question looks a lot like a douen, but the two continue on together in search of jumbies. The next creature Naya meets looks like a lagahoo with thick fur, sharp teeth and chains. The three then venture on, meeting a fiery soucouyant, the goat-like huge Papa Bois, and the watery snakelike Mama D’Leau. All of them bring Naya back home, but what will her mother think?

This playful picture book has the structure and rhythm of traditional and beloved stories which will make it familiar to many children. The Caribbean creatures described will be new to many readers as will the idea of a jumbie in general. Readers will love the jaunt across the fields, woods and rivers to discover a variety of jumbies who are tricksters but also kind to Naya.

Ren’s illustrations take the bright tropical colors and pair that with the dark of night to create illustrations that stand out. The creatures themselves are a wide range of colors and types, each so different from the others that they are surprising and delightful when the pages turn.

Adventure into the land of Caribbean stories with this picture book. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Balzer + Bray.