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*I'll Protect You from the Jungle Beasts* by Martha Alexander

Also written and/or illustrated by Martha Alexander:

Max and the Dumb Flower Picture

The Little Green Witch

I'll Protect You from the Jungle Beasts
by Martha Alexander
Baby-preschool 32 pages Charlesbridge June 2006 Hardcover    

I’ll Protect You From the Jungle Beasts starts out with a brave little boy protecting his Teddy from the jungle beasts of the forest – the lions and tigers and elephants. As he carries his little Teddy through the forest, he begins to tell Teddy that they are fierce, and the illustration shows a big ROAR. But not to worry, he will protect him.

Soon he begins to convince himself that all will be okay, that the lion is probably too tired to run while he can run very fast, or that he could even hit him with his slingshot. “Don’t be frightened Teddy!” Suddenly there is a HA! HA! HA! HEEEEEEEE of a hyena, but still the little boy protects his Teddy by reassuring him that hyena’s don’t eat teddy bears. “Boys? Oh, I’m not sure. There’s a big club, I can smash him into bits if he comes near us. No, I’m not frightened.”

At this point in the story, the boy begins to lose confidence - “Well, I thought this was the path home” - and Teddy is suddenly standing next to him holding his hand. As the story progresses, the teddy bear continues to grow in size and console the little boy. By the end of the story, he is carrying him, and the little boy’s fear begins to subside. They soon make it home; “It’s nice to be in our own bed again…isn’t it?”

The story’s aggressiveness in the middle of the book, when the little boy is convincing himself of his braveness, is an unnecessary distraction from the story. The concept of the story is that of a brave little boy whose imagination runs wild, scaring him so that he turns to his teddy for comfort. The teddy literally rises to the challenge and carries the boy (who explains the shakiness must be due to a fever) back to his bed where the brave little boy is comforted once again. While the concept and illustrations of the story are endearing and effective, it would have been nice for the little boy to accept and recognize his fears rather than mask them with the story of a fever.

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  Regan Windsor/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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