Rungle in the Jungle by Robert Logan Rogers Rungle in the Jungle by Robert Logan Rogers
Illustrator: Rachel McCoy
Published by the author on February 22, 2015
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Picture Book
Pages: 82
Format: eARC
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A giraffe, a tiger, and a jaguar decide to get their animal friends together for a friendly race. Everyone is excited. Everyone hopes to win! It’s shaping up to be the best day ever—until a sneaky snake ruins the fun with his boasting and scheming.

Suddenly, the other animals feel down. Surely the snake will win and make everyone feel pretty bad in the process. It’s up to the tiger and jaguar to outsmart the snake—and prove to their friends that positive thinking and creativity are more powerful than fear!

As every kid learns, everyone gets scared sometimes—even jungle animals! What’s important is facing your fears with strength and positivity. Just like life, the jungle might seem scary, but there’s also a lot of fun to be had.

Rungle in the Jungle is a clever picture book for young children. Kids will be captivated by its vivid illustrations, while parents will relish the simple, poetic story and its valuable life lessons about fear and the power of positive thinking. With so much to enjoy, Rungle in the Jungle is the perfect bedtime story for kids and parents to share together!

It sounded like a cute book. The animals get together for a race, the snake tries to intimidate them, but positive thinking and creativity win the day – should be fun. Instead, it just wasn’t very good, in my opinion.

First, there is no punctuation, which always bothers me- yes, it’s a kids book, yes, it rhymes, but please give me quotation marks. When reading books aloud, the quotation marks are great indicators that a change of voice is needed. I want to sound like a slithery snake during his boasts or big and bold when the ape states that he weighs more than a ton, and quotes would have given me the cue. I’m still not sure about the ape’s assertion that he would lose weight before the race, though; it bothers me a bit.

Second, many of the rhymes are forced or don’t make a lot of sense and the pattern isn’t consistent. Even rungle isn’t a real word. I’m all for making up words, but making a version of rumble that rhymes with jungle seems silly.

One day while playing in the jungle
They began to toss and tumble
As the grass began to crumble
Josh declared without a mumble

Grass doesn’t crumble, does it?

A perch for a search
On Jessica's neck
Like a mast for a ship
They reached from her deck

Yes, Jessica’s a giraffe, but it’s still an odd stanza. It just doesn’t fit.

And the snake never really seems that scary. Yes, he boasts he will win and he can curl up like a wheel and roll, which I actually thought was creative, even if rather “cunning.” We are told he “played with their minds,” but it’s not depicted well.

The illustrations are cute, colorful. I’m not sure why only two of the animals are wearing shorts though, the two boys who win the race. It seems like more of the animals should have pieces of clothing or none should. Well, I guess the rhino does have glasses.

And if a story’s told well, even kids don’t need the moral spelled out in the end, like this one does in a pair of stanzas that don’t flow well.

So champions can be
Big hearts of gold
Children with fears
Must always be told

That snakes are as crafty
As you let them be
If you look past your fear
You will always be free

The book had potential. Animals are usually a lot of fun in picture books and kids love to race each other. Rhyming books are perfect for the audience it’s aimed at and good ones are fun for parents to read aloud. Even the message is good – don’t listen to naysayers, believe in yourself. It just failed to live up to its promise.