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Kids’ book teaches big voice in dark can be little guy

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Kids' book teaches big voice in dark can be little guyA sweet tale teaches children to not be afraid of big voices in the dark — they can belong to small, harmless creatures.Helen Oxenbury
Which is fiercest, a cat, rabbit, bear, elephant or frog?

Here’s a hint: The frog is a mother frog and she has stuff to do. Naturally, she wins.

“The Giant Jumperee” by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Penguin Random House, $17.99) is a beautifully done book that proves bravery comes in small packages.

A rabbit, about to hop into his burrow, is scared off. He hears a voice from within shout: “I’m the giant jumperee and I’m scary as can be!” So the rabbit backs away from the voice.

Friends happen by and all try to help him and all are scared off. A cat, a bear and an elephant find themselves afraid of the voice.

They cooperate and try to help one another.

” ‘Don’t worry,’ said Elephant. “I’ll wrap my trunk around him and toss him away.”

One threat from the voice within the burrow, and the elephant is cowering, hugging a tree.

Everyone is scared of this being. Everyone that is except the mother frog.

Maybe she recognized the voice. Maybe she just knows that most creatures that bellow and boast are really babes in the woods, who need to be taken by the hand and guided.

I’m not sure if these species could live among one another. But if I’m looking for realism, talking animals that get a good laugh out of the absurdity of this is probably not the right place to find it.

It is, though, a lovely place to find a sweet lesson in not taking a bully at his word and that sometimes the bully doesn’t even mean to be scaring anyone.

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