Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Jungle Drums
  • Alternative view 1 of Jungle Drums
  • Alternative view 2 of Jungle Drums

Jungle Drums

5.0 2
by Graeme Base

See All Formats & Editions

“Every year the Other Animals hold a Grand Parade with prizes for the most beautiful. The Warthogs don’t even bother entering — mud wrestling isn’t on the program.”
From the creator of the beloved illustrated classic, The Waterhole, comes a story about finding inner beauty, and learning that our wishes are not always


“Every year the Other Animals hold a Grand Parade with prizes for the most beautiful. The Warthogs don’t even bother entering — mud wrestling isn’t on the program.”
From the creator of the beloved illustrated classic, The Waterhole, comes a story about finding inner beauty, and learning that our wishes are not always fulfilled in ways we expect.
Ngiri Mdogo is the smallest warthog in a big family of African warthogs. They’re not very pretty, but they can put on a great mud-wrestling contest! Unfortunately the beautiful animals across the river don’t appreciate mud wrestling — they have a grand parade that shows off how stunning they look, and they tease the warthogs for being so ugly.
Ngiri wishes he wasn’t so small because he is tired of being teased, and he wishes that Warthogs weren’t so ugly and the other animals weren’t so pretty. When Ngiri is given a set of magic drums he is sure his wishes are about to come true, but the way his problem is eventually solved is not as he expects — and everyone learns a lesson along the way.
Graeme Base’s imagination, enthusiasm, energy, and sense of humour will astound you yet again in this gloriously illustrated book. A wonderfully child-friendly picture book with fable-style storytelling perfect for reading aloud or as a first reader.
In true Graeme Base style there is an added surprise at the end: a fun look-and-find element in the illustrations. The stunning African scenery, the African magic and fantasy element, and the warm and endearing characters will draw the reader in, and the story culminates in a wild, funny, andvisually impressive grand finale over several spreads that proves that Graeme Base just keeps getting better and better with every book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this disconcerting fairy tale, a young warthog uses magic bongos to cast spells on his vain jungle neighbors, and the results are not pretty. Ngiri Mdogo, literally "little warthog" in Swahili, hates being the runt of the forest. " `No spots?' laughs Chui the Leopard. `No stripes?' whinnies Punda Milia the Zebra." Ngiri Mdogo complains to Old Nyumbu the Wildebeest, who lends him two special drums but warns that the outcome is "not always as you expect!" The first time he beats these "jungle drums," the pompous beasts turn neutral beige and lose their identifying features; the elephant no longer has its trunk, nor the rhino its horns. Their markings appear on the other warthogs (not the hero), who proudly parade around the muddy riverbank. Ngiri Mdogo plays the drums again, but the warthogs only transform further into giraffes and zebras, the leopard gets the rhino's gray skin and the elephant acquires leopard spots. Base painted naturalistic, if anthropomorphic, beasts in Animalia, but here he plays mix-and-match with exaggerated, garish cartoon creatures until a third wish restores normality. The book's most engaging aspect is its hide-and-seek game; chameleons, birds and snails flicker in the greenery, and semi-transparent portraits of the wildebeest appear in every spread. The forest yields details, but readers may be put off by the unpleasant discombobulations that beset the main characters. Without the alphabetic format of Animalia and the visual interplay of The Water Hole, the story feels like a hollow vessel for delivering a clich d message. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Poor Ngiri Mdogo. The "Smallest Warthog in Africa" is not only teased by the other warthogs because he is so small. He is also laughed at by the other animals. They are "just GORGEOUS," as they prepare for the Grand Parade with prizes for the most beautiful. Of course the warthogs can't compete in that contest. Depressed, Ngiri is consoled by a gift from wise Old Nyumbu the wildebeast, magic drums that will give him whatever he wishes for, but not always in the way he expects. The first time he plays them, the stunning decorations, stripes, spots, etc. of the other animals appear on the warthogs, to their delight and to the anger of the other animals. Ngiri drums again, but the confusion gets worse. Finally, he makes everything go back to normal again, and even he is happy. Paintings spread over double pages are overloaded with spirited naturalistic depictions of animals who behave like humans .Ngiri makes a very appealing hero. The other animals preen their individual patterned skins and despair when they observe their "nakedness." The moonlit jungle scenes take on a magic, spiritual quality. There's so much in the illustrations that demand multiple "readings." In addition to Base's illustrated notes on Swahili pronunciation, he offers a challenge to the reader. He has changed every creature in some way after they have listened to the magic drums. He has also hidden Old Nyumbu somewhere on every spread. Luckily he also gives the answers to the search. This is the second engrossing, fun-filled volume of Base's proposed "Jungle Trilogy" of which The Water Hole was the first. 2004, Harry N Abrams, Ages 4 to 9.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-An oversized book with illustrations that add depth and humor to the text. Ngiri Mdogo (which means "Little Warthog" in Swahili) is teased by the bigger warthogs because of his small size, and because they are jealous of the Other Animals that live across the River and have beautiful spots, stripes, and plumes. When the wise old wildebeest gives the little warthog a set of magic bongo drums that will grant any wish, the angry Other Animals lose their striking markings, while the warthogs look fabulous in gorgeous spots, stripes, and colors. That night, Ngiri Mdogo plays the drums again. When the sun rises, the markings are on the wrong animals, and all of them are unhappy. Again, the little warthog plays the drums, and with the new day, everything is back to normal. The animals celebrate with a Grand Parade and when Ngiri Mdogo plays a solo, everyone is careful not to wish for anything. Base's lush, colorful illustrations capture the richness of jungle life. The appealing creatures are drawn accurately enough for identification, but their facial expressions and physical positions give them personality and humor. To add to the wonderment, Base has included several illustrations with hidden animals for readers to find. A note on Swahili pronunciation is included. This is a visual feast, even if bongo drums are not native to Africa.-Linda Staskus, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of The Water Hole (2001) creates elaborately worked scenes of vast African plains and thick jungles, in which lurk disguised creatures and subtle transformations for sharp-eyed young observers to spot. Puny warthog Ngiri plays a set of wish-granting bongos furnished by a wise old wildebeest, only to discover that his never-explicitly-expressed wishes go awry. One morning, the colorful stripes, spots, feathers, and other features decorating the local wildlife have switched over to the formerly plain, ugly warthogs-then the next morning, they're back again, only on the wrong animals. Hostility levels rise, until Ngiri confesses to the deeds; once he gets things back to normal (but not quite: Base suggests another look), he finds that his own social standing has risen. Not the strongest plot around, but, along with the pleasures of poring over accomplished, sometimes beautiful art for cleverly hidden details, children will be drawn by the silly switcheroos and comical expressions of dismay among the animal cast. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 11.62(h) x 0.50(d)
AD730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Graeme Base is one of the world’s leading creators of picture books. Animalia received international acclaim when it was first published in 1986 and it has achieved classic status with worldwide sales of more than two million copies. Base’s most recent picture book, The Water Hole, an ingenious fusion of counting book, puzzle book, storybook and artbook, has been published in Australia, the USA, Canada, Italy, France, Denmark and the UK. Base lives in Melbourne with his artist wife Robyn and their three children.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Jungle Drums 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ProfessoraSW More than 1 year ago
A great book for young and old alike. The wonderful illustrations certainly encourage readers to explore other of Graeme Base's works!
pgcook More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a wart-hog who finds some magic drums and wishes to be beautiful, like all the other animals, with very funny results. He soon learns that looks are not everything and that everybody is special. A great book.