Kid’s Book Review: Desert Jungle

Kid’s Book Review: Desert Jungle

About the Book and Author

From artist and author Jeannie Baker is an illustrated story about a boy and his Grandpa set in the desert where the Grandpa grew up. It teaches about the animal and plant life that is tough enough to thrive in that barren environment. Using collage the artist captures the deep beauty, mystery, and hidden vitality of the desert landscape in an unusually textured and effective way to illustrate the narrative.

Grandpa decides that it is time to show his reluctant and disinterested grandson the secrets and the wonders that the desert has to offer so that he will not fear it but, instead, welcome it, embrace it and help protect it. Soon, Chico begins to understand the wonders of the wild. He learns the value of watching, waiting and listening for all the life that hums within his desert home.

Jeannie Baker

Jeannie Baker is an artist, author and filmmaker. Visit her website to find out more about her work.

“I wrote and illustrated my first children’s picture book when I was at art college. It was later published as Grandfather. I’ve since made my home in Sydney, Australia. The Australian environment has had an enormous impact on my work, and since Where the Forest Meets the Sea all my projects have had an environmental focus. I try to design my projects for young children but also try to incorporate ideas that children might only understand as they grow older or become adult.”

Book Review

I liked seeing the coyote stealing the bag because I’ve never seen that animal before, not even in a book

The boy in the book (Chico) reminded me of myself, and it made me realise sometimes I like to watch my tablet too much. My Mum and Dad like it when I don’t watch TV and instead play games or go outside like Chico. Chico’s Grandad is like my Grandad and Pops because they also try to keep me safe and wouldn’t like it if I went missing.

I liked seeing the coyote stealing the bag because I’ve never seen that animal before, not even in a book. It made me feel amazed to see a new animal. I thought Chico might be in danger when he saw the coyote because I didn’t know if the coyote would eat him. That bit was a little bit scary.

The story is in the desert and it was great to learn more about the place as I’ve never read a story set there before. I liked all the plants like cacti and all the drawings really made it feel real. They are almost like photographs or printed fabric or models. Very cool.

I liked the end when he got back to his Grandpa safely and had learnt so much about the place he is from. It makes me want to visit a desert.

There are also some really interesting real facts at the end to find out more about the desert land.

Mum says:

The style of the book has a gentle natural feel with the unusual earthy illustrations. The relationship between the boy and his grandfather is beautiful and the sense of trust and self-growth is handled well. Jesse asked lots of questions about the plants mentioned and animals such as a coyote, which really intrigued him. He enjoyed the book very much and it allowed him to learn new things and be inquisitive about another culture.

If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Jesse
  • Age: 6 years
  • Likes: Football, musicals and olives
  • Dislikes: Broad beans and tidying his room
  • Favourite Book: Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
  • Favourite Song: Any from Matilda the Musical
  • Favourite TV Show: The Fixies