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Pokko and the Drum
2019
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Summary
A Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Book for Fall 2019

"In embracing one ' s own beat, Pokko discovers, extraordinary things can happen." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Forsythe's coy, playful writing is a wonder on its own, but the lush...illustrations beautifully elevate the tale...Inspirational." -- Booklist (starred review)

"Celebrating both community and individuality, this droll, funny offering will tickle kids and adults alike." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Has t he feel of an instant classic, the kind of book you can easily convince yourself has been around forever, spreading joy. " -- Quill & Quire (starred review)

From E.B. White Read Aloud honor artist Matthew Forsythe comes a picture book about a magical drum, an emerald forest, and the little frog who dares to make her own music.

The biggest mistake Pokko's parents ever made was giving her the drum. When Pokko takes the drum deep into the forest it is so quiet, so very quiet that Pokko decides to play. And before she knows it she is joined by a band of animals --first the raccoon, then the rabbit, then the wolf--and soon the entire forest is following her. Will Pokko hear her father's voice when he calls her home?

Pokko and the Drum is a story about art, persistence, and a family of frogs living in a mushroom.
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 1--An omniscient narrator explains the story's central problem on the first page: "The biggest mistake Pokko's parents ever made was giving her a drum." It was, apparently, not an isolated error in judgment by these amphibians. Readers observe the young frog positioning herself in a slingshot, riding a llama in the living room, borne aloft by a balloon. The apron-wearing father keeps lamenting their latest purchase to his constantly reading wife, who can't hear anything due to the din. Forsythe's watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil compositions employ a warm palette of browns, oranges, reds, yellows, and greens. Polka-dot, patchwork, and striped patterns against cream-colored backgrounds create a cozy environment. When her father encourages drumming outside their homey mushroom, Pokko enters a lush forest with Matisse-like flora--but soon a reddish-yellow light permeates the page, and the eerie quiet causes her to start tapping "just to keep herself company." She is soon followed by a banjo-playing raccoon, a trumpet-wielding rabbit, a host of other instrumentalists, and an appreciative audience. Children may identify some characters from rhymes and folk tales. In addition to being a talented musician (something the father comes to recognize), the protagonist also proves to be an effective band leader. Faced with unsavory behavior from a wolf, she confronts him and earns a sincere apology; the show goes on. VERDICT Creative design and painterly scenes portray a heroine who takes risks and follows her heart into experiences that bring a little danger, but also joy and satisfaction.--Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
Booklist Review
The frog family lives a quiet, out-of-the-way existence in a peaceful forest peaceful, that is, until they present their daughter, Pokko, with a drum. It's a big mistake, they realize even bigger than their previous gifts of a slingshot and llama. We don't like drawing attention to ourselves, her father says, and Pokko agrees to take her drum-banging out into the woods, giving her patient parents some peace. As she walks about, drumming, different forest critters join her, their own instruments in tow, and form a boisterous musical parade. In one dicey moment, a wolf joins the throng. No more eating band members or you're out of the band, Pokko admonishes the apologetic predator. The joyful cacophony resumes, eventually convincing even her quiet parents that perhaps the drum wasn't such a mistake after all. Forsythe's coy, playful writing is a wonder on its own, but the lush watercolor, gouache, and colored-pencil illustrations beautifully elevate the tale, creating a warm and wonderful world that any woodland creature (or small child) would long to inhabit. There is something inspirational about Pokko's determined drumming and steadfast leadership, subtly providing a delightful lesson on the importance of quite literally marching to the beat of your own drum. Sometimes making noise is the only way to be heard.--Emily Graham Copyright 2010 Booklist
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