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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jack and the FlumFlum Tree, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts. Macmillan, Harper. 2011. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"The monkey crept closer.
He listened to the tunes.
He put down the flumflum
and he grabbed the wooden spoons.

Then back sailed Jack,
with Stu and Rose,
All the way home
from Blowyernose."

I really like it when an author keeps a promise made in the this case, Julia Donaldson lets her readers in on the dilemma immediately and she also has Granny provide a patchwork sack filled with intriguing and unrelated objects. Why??

Granny has the moozles and there is only one cure! Her grandson Jack is determined to find just what the doctor ordered. To do that he must build a boat, find a crew and set sail for the far-off island that is home to the fruit of the tree that will save Granny from her illness. Off they go with Granny's bag full of goodies in tow,  not  knowing how valuable each one will be.

As they sail out over the bounding main, they meet with a series of possible voyage-ending predicaments. First, it's sharks, then a leak, followed by a man overboard. Each time one of Granny's offbeat objects helps to resolve the sticky situation. It's as if she had a premonition, or she knew what she was doing.

Finally, they find the island, and the tree. Once again, there is something in Granny's patchwork sack that helps with the retrieval of the flumflum fruit. But, that is not the end of their problems.

Kids will enjoy the lilt of the text and the oft-repeated phrase:

"Don't get your knickers in a twist," said Jack.
"Let's have a look in the patchwork sack."

There is lots to be enjoyed in the reading...rhyming text throughout, alarm as each new problem arises, humor in dealing with the difficulties, carefully considered word choice and fun, fun, fun! Readers will enjoy journeying with the three intrepid sea goers on their quest to save Granny from the dreaded moozles.

David Roberts adds to the magic with his artwork. It is filled with detail and action, an open invitation for listeners to pore over its pages. There is so much to see! The expressive faces of the savvy sailors, the rolling sea, and the lush tropical island that is their destination all make for a most enjoyable story to share.

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