Friday, April 11, 2014

PPBF: Jumbo's Lullaby

J is for Jumbo*

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick helps celebrate National Poetry Month.

Jumbo's Lullaby,
 by Laura Krauss Melmed and Henri Sorensen

Jumbo's Lullaby
Written by Laura Krauss Melmed
Illustrated by Henri Sorensen
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1999
fiction, ages 2-9
word count 315

Parental love, Animals, Bedtime

Shusha, shusha, Mama's darling,
stars are twinkling up high,
flickering like little fishes
in the river of the sky.

In their midst the moon is flosting,
glowing with a gentle light,
like a pearly water lily
that has blossomed in the night.

Shusha, shusha, little Jumbo,
Mama's love will hold you tight.

This rhyming picture book begins with an elephant shushing her baby to sleep. The text follows the animals of the savannah as they sing their lullabies. But as the story progresses, the verses move from realistic to dreamy. Though the lions may dream of the day they will grow up to be hunters, the hippo dreams she has butterfly wings. Sweet, charming, and clever. This book includes one page of back matter which explains a few details about the real Jumbo.

What I Love:
This follow-up to the Melmed / Sorensen classic, I Love You As Much, may not be as perfect, but it is a great addition to any bedtime routine nonetheless. Laura Krauss Melmed's verse rarely falters. And Henri Sorensen proves he is a master illustrator of both the realistic and the fantastic. I love his gazelles which leap above the clouds.

And the last stanza makes me sigh along with the narrator:

Wrapped in shadow, hidden thicket,
misty marsh, or grassland's sweep,
those who are awake by daylight
close their eyes and welcome sleep.

Now that you are sleeping too, dear,
how I sigh with sweet relief.
Slumber peacefully, my darling,
Mama's love is wide and deep.

Courtesy Learn Create Love
1. Read this interview with Laura Krauss Melmed.
2. Discover the facts about the real-life elephantine marvel, Jumbo from the Barnum Museum.
3. Hear more African lullabies on Songs From the Baobab.
4. Visit the new African penguin exhibit at the Maryland Zoo, Baltimore.
5. Craft and ostrich with this printable.
6. Cook authentic Chicken Yassa or chin chin from Kadi's African Recipes.
7. Ready to try your hand at a little verse? Scholastic offers online workshops with Jack Prelutsky, Jean Marzollo, and Karla Kuskin.
8. Here are some other Perfect Picture Books you might enjoy.

Posted by Jennifer Rumberger
Posted by Catherine Johnson
Posted by Of Thoughts and Words

Posted by Miss Marple
One of my all-time favorites!

About P. T. Barnum and his
other elephant adventures.
Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday for April 11, 2014 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's excellent blog.

*Follow the A to Z Challenge.


  1. cool! Poetry for April... and animal lullabies. Thanks for sharing this one.

  2. What a lovely poetic bedtime book about animals tucking in for the night. I agree with you, I love the ending. Today has been an animal day -- must be because we all long for spring. Great selection!

    1. I was able to enjoy a short nap in the spring sunshine myself. 'Hoping more are soon to come!

  3. If the inner illos are anything like the cover I'm a goner!

  4. I'm a sucker for zebras. I love the cover and the sample you gave ... I'm hooked.

    1. These colorful zebras do make the perfect cover. They dream of wear ANYTHING but black and white, according to the text :)

  5. I'm feeling sleepy..................

    1. I wish my dog was. He's been up at 4 AM each night for the past week. Must be spring fever.

  6. What a beautiful bedtime tale. It's so soothing.

    1. Laura's rhymes do have a very lilting quality. Thanks for your comments.

  7. Beautiful. Love the rhyming text. Thanks, Joanne.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy this selection.

  8. A beautiful selection for poetry month! I liked the titles you recommended at the end for related reading.

    1. Thanks. Those recommendations are courtesy all you darling fellow-PPBF reviewers.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!