Pokko and the Drum

Ages: 4 - 8Publisher: Simon & Schuster Author/Illustrator: Matthew Forsythe


Pokko, an irrepressible little girl frog, takes her new drum out into the forest, and as she plays, a crowd of other musicians fall in step behind her, beginning with a banjo-playing raccoon and including a wolf “who couldn’t really play anything, but was very happy to be near the music.” The music is so exuberant in fact, that even Pokko’s parents are carried away—literally—in the end. Rendered in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil, with diffuse autumn colors and a stylized forest motif, this gorgeously illustrated book by author/artist Matthew Forsythe is a visual treasure. (Anyone familiar with the wonderfully weird and edgy Adventure Time cartoon series may recognize Forsythe’s off-beat originality; he was lead designer on the show.) The unfortunate and rather casually dismissed fate (told, not pictured) of the trumpet-playing rabbit musician, however may give young readers pause. Although, in fairness, Pokko does give the apologetic wolf a scolding.

Lynne Heffley ©2019 Parents’ Choice

A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.

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