The Shelf-Paper Jungle

Diana Engel, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-02-733464-7
Anyone who has ever watched a treasured friend move to a new town--or who misses someone left behind--will empathize with Lila and Frannie, who ``had been best friends for as long as they could remember.'' They spend a lot of their time creating the eponymous jungle--a long roll of paper they've decorated with paintings of trees and animals. When Frannie announces that her family is moving away, the girls work hard to complete their masterpiece, and when it's almost finished, they dive into it--literally--for one last adventure together. Engel ( Josephina the Great Collector ) creatively juxtaposes her practiced renditions of Lila and Frannie with the duo's own more childlike illustrations: the girls swing from trees they've drawn, ride on the back of a giant bird and run from an alligator and a lion. Their expressions communicate their affection and their regret that they must separate, while the romp through the jungle provides a symbol of their remembrance of shared experiences. A poignant finale, in which Lila and Frannie cut the paper in half, conveys sadness along with hope for reunion; Engel speaks insightfully on interrupted relationships. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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