Hello everyone! Today I’m really excited to share POKKO AND THE DRUM, by Matthew Forsythe. I’m a huge fan of Matthew Forsythe’s work, with some of my favorites like MY NAME IS ELIZABETH and THE GOLD LEAF. This book is something special. It has that classic feel of containing all the right ingredients that a great children’s book should have. It’s just the right balance of interesting and hilarious and that’s what I’d like to focus on for this post.
Right off the bat, it’s a beautiful cover (and my photos do NOT do Matthew’s artwork justice). But it’s also a really interesting title. Pokko isn’t your “Fred the Frog” type of name that we may normally see. It’s unique and intriguing in it’s own way. We just have to know what the deal is with this particular frog and it’s drum.
We instantly know that Pokko’s parents made a mistake giving her a drum, and it was their biggest mistake. We also definitely want to know what those other mistakes were.
And Forsythe doesn’t disappoint.
And these “mistakes” are spot on the while not being over the top. None of them are that ridiculous (I mean the Llama is a bit strange), but they’re actually quite normal gifts that are only “mistakes” because of how Forsythe reveals them.
Then we’re done with the flashbacks – which really just serve as a nice setup to the story of this frog and why giving her this drum was such a big mistake.
The interaction between Pokko’s parents here is exactly what every parent has ever said about drums. But that’s not where Forsythe leaves this joke.
And then if the followup joke wasn’t funny enough, this image is just perfect with Pokko marching around the far side of a very interesting bed scene. While Forsythe is allowed to be hilarious with his writing, the expressions and artwork he creates seem to contain it a bit from once again going too over the top. Again, it seems so perfectly balanced for this book.
The amazing part, is that at this point in the story, we’re just getting started, and so Forsythe settles us back down as Pokko’s tale carries on.
The idea that Pokko agrees, and sets out as quietly as she could, instantly makes me curious about whether or not the quiet will last – or more accurately, how long it will last.
Forsythe really unleashes his artwork on these next few pages, and Pokko’s adventure is about to once again start ramping up. I’d love to share more, but I don’t want to spoil it! Believe me, it’s such a wonderful story that you can’t help but be surprised, or laugh, at what happens every time you turn the page.
My takeaway in my own work from this book is definitely a reflection on balance. I love funny books, but is my humor taking over from the story? Or could certain jokes be input into sections so as to break up something that otherwise might be a bit boring?
LAST MONTH’S GIVEAWAY WINNER for THUNDER TRUCKS!!! Recently we’ve had some difficulty with plugins here on the PBB blog, so I’ve had to use Random number selector at Random.org. and then count the comments to find that winner. That is why I didn’t reply to your lovely comments last month, as I didn’t want to muddle the selection process at all!
The winner is:
Congratulations, Debra! You were comment number 10! I’ll be reaching out shortly to arrange to send you a signed copy of THUNDER TRUCKS!
So thank you to everyone who commented on last month’s post and entered to win.