The Jungle of Jojee

In my humble opinion, when you’re reviewing a children’s book, it doesn’t matter how you feel about it. Success of the book is based solely on its reception with children. That’s the premise behind this report on The Jungle of Jojee.

A little back story is needed. Two years ago — yeah, two years ago — I accompanied Santa — yeah, Santa, — on a trip to the St. Francis & St. Clare Roman Catholic Parish Christmas Bazaar in Waterloo, NY {it’s this Saturday (Nov. 23) this year, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.}.

While the jolly old elf was doing his thing visiting and reading to the children in attendance, I wandered around and struck up a conversation with the mother of author Amy McMahon. Authors tend to find other authors. Short story, she was peddling her daughter’s book, The Jungle of Jojee. With a passel of young grandchildren — one in particular deeply invested in all things dinosaurs — I purchased the book.

One thing led  to another. My December 2017 consisted of an extended visit to family and friends weaving my way from Maine to New York to Ohio to Indiana to Kentucky to South Carolina to Florida to New Jersey to Massachusetts and back to Maine. The Jungle of Jojee didn’t join me on the trip. It got stuck on my bookshelf … for 22 long months. I “rediscovered” it while getting ready for this latest journey. I knew Ben, my now six year old dinosaur aficionado, and five year old sister Hayleigh would probably enjoy the book, so I brought it to Massachusetts and scheduled a special reading date. Tv off. Toys picked up. The two of them nestled on my lap.

In the two-plus weeks I was in Massachusetts, I never saw these two so quiet. They followed along  with rapt attention, hanging on every word, pointing to every illustration.

The story is a story within a story. On the surface, Jojee is a prehistoric rainforest jungle full of dinosaurs — just about one for every letter of the alphabet — many of whom are not so happy. One particular sad sack dino was a mini raptor named Mario, our protagonist who bemoans the fact he is the smallest guy in the neighborhood. Through his interactions with his fellow dinosaurs, he discovers they, too, have problems. Unwittingly, Mario helps them see a brighter side to their dilemma, and in the end, his other dinosaurs gather to celebrate Mario’s talent despite his self-worth issues because of his size.

The secondary story, however, is subtly more telling. Doing good, being kind, reaching out, spreading joy, and listening to your momma (all the dinosaurs got into their predicament by not listing to momma’s counsel) all are shown as positives that build individual self worth.

The book is aptly illustrated by Alina Shabelnyk. The technicalities of the watercolor illustrations might not follow pure paleotological understanding, but who cares? Certainly not the kids.

And so, by virtue of the authority given me by my grandchildren, I hereby reward The Jungle of Jojee with five big stars.


Paperback: 30 pages, $7.99

Publisher: Independently published

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1718129556

ISBN-13: 978-1718129559

Kindle $2.99



Audible Audiobook: 10 minutes, Free with Audible trial


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility. — Paulo Coelho



About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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