#1204 – Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe


Pokko and the Drum
Written and Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Paula Wiseman Books 10/1/2019
64 Pages   Ages 4—8

Genre:  Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: Self-Expression, Animal Bands



Pokko is a frog, and she lives with her quiet parents in a quiet mushroom in a quiet forest. But everything changes when she gets a drum. (from book jacket)

Opening Lines

The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her a drum. They had made mistakes before.

Why I like this book

Pokko lives in a quiet community mushroom, with quiet sensible parents. They did give Pokko gifts, some of which were a mistake, like the drum (their biggest mistake).

“We shouldn’t have given her that drum,” said her father.
“What?” said her mother. “The drum is too loud, I can’t hear you.”

The next morning, Dad tells Pokko to take her drum outside, warning her not to make too much noise.

“We’re just a little frog family . . . and we don’t like drawing attention to ourselves.”

The forest being too quiet, Pokko taps on her drum to keep herself company. Behind her, a raccoon starts playing a banjo. Soon a rabbit and a wolf join, but the wolf‘s intentions are for more than music—he ate the rabbit. Pokko stood up to the wolf.

“No more eating band members or you’re out of the band.”

Shortly after, a crowd of animal musicians joins Pokko. More and more musicians follow Pokko and her drum. The band marches right through Pokko’s home, sweeping up her parents on top of the ever-growing crowd. Dad finally agrees, Pokko was “pretty good.”

Mom cannot quite hear her husband—who wears the apron—because of Pokko’s drumming and because she is intent on reading. Not to judge a book by its cover, looking at mom’s book covers it is evident she is a voracious reader (three different books throughout the story). I love how Forsythe emphasizes the increasingly loud music coming toward dad by bringing the patriarch closer to the spread’s forefront, while also increasing dad in size. Most of the spreads contain such visual delights.

Forsythe’s color scheme decorates the outdoor scenes with lush watercolors of brown and orange, with a smattering of brighter colors in the details. Indoors, earthy colors and patterns (shape and size) fill the little frog family’s home (quilts, cloths, and other objects).

Sharp eyes will enjoy the appealing illustrations; like how just the pupil (of the eye) can change Pokko’s expression. Forsythe’s wry story and gorgeous illustrations will have kids giggling and parents re-reading Pokko and the Drum.

Favorite Line `

But then the wolf ate the rabbit, and Pokko stopped playing her drum and faced the wolf and said, “Mo more eating band members or you’re out of the band.”

I love Pokko’s stern warning to the wolf. She seemed shy, playing her drum largely as                                    self-expression, so this display of uncompromising command gives Pokko more depth of personality.

Illustrations:  Rendered in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil.

Available at Amazon

Pokko and the Drum. Copyright © 2019 by Matthew Forsythe. Published by Paula Wiseman Books / Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.

Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved


4 thoughts on “#1204 – Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe

    • Hi Cupcake! I adore your comments. How would you like to write a review here, or write your own short story? I am find-the-squeaky-toys serious.

      Jon doesn’t chew on his squeaky toys. Instead, he gets them all piled on the sofa and then pushes them onto the floor . . . then they squeak. Unless it is one of his bones. Those make more of a bang-I-got-you! noise, which always makes me jump. (I swear he laughs at this.)


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