Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Didier Lévy
Illustrator: Nathalie Dieterlé
Publisher: Barefoot Books
When the jungle explodes into a food fight, one animal chooses to take creative action to stop it. Braving the frenzy of flying food, Jojo the elephant appears on the scene claiming to have lost his memory—he can’t even recall what a banana is! The lion, monkey, and crocodile, hippopotamus, and others take a timeout to sit down with Jojo. He tries to get to the bottom of the food fight—why did it start? At first, the animals blame each other, but as they eat their bananas, some begin to offer up their fruits to share. They all reminisce about better times. Jojo shares one memory, only to get caught—everyone sees he hasn’t lost his memory after all! But no one’s mad since they’ve become friends again.
The book’s message of conflict resolution is not overly didactic, although it is predictable. Teachers and parents could easily use the book as a starting point for a discussion with children on resolving conflicts. For example, younger children could discuss how a timeout was helpful to the friends. Older children could talk about why Jojo needed to pretend to lose his memory in order to help the others. While the plot is not incredibly engaging, the book does have merit in its message. Readers will also find that the illustrations in loose ink and pencil are as colorful as a jungle could be imagined.