Review Blog

Jul 31 2018

Jasper juggles jellyfish by Ben Long

cover image

Ill. by David Cornish. Ford Street, 2018. ISBN 9781925736038
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Rhyming book. Learning. Persistence. Jasper is a bit of a disinterested learner (dragging his tentacles off to school) and he would definitely rather juggle jellyfish than count them. Imagine his surprise when his learning to juggle (he wants to give up with this when it becomes too hard) also results in him learning to count.
Rich, shiny illustrations give an under-the-sea sheen but the illustrations falls a little flat, perhaps let down by Jasper the octopus not having a form that allows for any facial or bodily expression. This is disappointing as the story focuses heavily on Jasper's attitudes to learning, failure and success and while there is an attempt to counter this through the text ("He crumpled with a sigh") it doesn't quite hit the mark. The little jellyfish are more animated but they are secondary characters and singular faceted in their emotions.
The story is an important reminder to children that learning can be useful and fun and a nice reminder to parents and teachers that there is more than one way to learn and that children learn best when they are active participants engaging with the world around them.
Nicole Nelson

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