Off the Shelf: Jumanji

Remember the book Jumanji? Try for a second to separate it from the 1995 film in your mind. Remember the book?


I was looking through my beat-up copy the other day, and I realized that Jumanji proved two things.

1. Children’s book illustrations don’t have to be covered in color and rainbows to be enjoyable and attractive.

2. Children’s book illustrations don’t have to be covered in blood and guts to be scary and suspenseful.

I think it’s interesting that most of the illustrations depict rather boring or mundane scenes. But it’s the angles that make the images interesting and (usually) suspenseful. Look at the use of shadow here, too.


And the juxtaposition of normal, everyday items and wild-n-crazy things are also a big part of what make these illustrations so successful.



The only human faces we see are Judy and Peter’s. They give us some very memorable facial expressions:


But we don’t see anyone else’s face. For example, we just get a rear view of the guide.


I love this one of the fog.


Even though they almost destroy their house and get themselves killed, everything turns out OK for Judy and Peter in the end.


Moral of the story: Don’t EVER, EVER say, “I’m bored” when you’re surrounded by nice, safe toys.

Unlike these two knuckleheads.



What was your favorite board game growing up?


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