Rum Pum Pum

Holiday House. Sept. 2020. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823441006.
Gr 1-3–Tiger does not have any friends. One day he finds a lost drum in the road. As he walks, he beats the drum with his tail. The percussive sound attracts friends: a monkey, a rhino, an elephant, and other animals that would typically be considered prey by a large jungle cat. Even though all the animals make different noises, they are all enchanted by the rum pum pum of the drum. Near the end of the day, they argue over who will get to carry the drum. A young boy breaks up their argument when he collects his lost drum and plays a tune, lulling the animals to sleep in a close-knit pile. Although the ending says this is a story about friendship, the animals’ only bond is the drum and the music they have created. The cumulative nature of the story, with each animal’s call being added to the parade, becomes overwhelming. If the text is cumbersome, the illustrations shine. Colored pencil and digital paint beautifully render the flora and fauna of the South Asian landscapes. The animals have expressive faces and human mannerisms, similar to characters from The Jungle Book. The title page and endpapers show the drummer boy surrounded by wooden figurines of the animals in the book, suggesting the whole story exists within his imagination. The boy is brown-skinned and presumably South Asian. Back matter clarifies the liberties that the authors have taken, by bringing together animals from different habitats of India; they ask readers to think about what they can do to preserve the endangered tiger population.
VERDICT Despite Sarkar’s lovely artwork, this is not an essential purchase.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing