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Year of the Jungle Hardcover – September 10, 2013


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 450L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Australian Edtition edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545425166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545425162
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 11.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #956,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3–This moving picture book recounts, through the author's eyes as a child, the year of her father's military tour of duty in Viet Nam. The youngest of four kids growing up in a safe, loving family, Suzy is first seen listening to her dad read Ogden Nash's poem about Custard, the dragon who stays brave despite his inner fears. Thus the stage is set for her father's imminent deployment. In this pre-Internet world, his postcards provide tenuous but tangible connections as the first grader tries to comprehend what a jungle is, what her father is doing there, and the passage of time (“Has it been a year yet?”). But Suzy's concerns increase when Dad confuses her birthday with a sister's, and then the postcards cease. When one abruptly surfaces, Dad signs it, “Pray for me.” (She does, “very hard.”) Television news  and a near-drowning incident during a swimming lesson feed the child's anxieties. Suddenly, Dad is home, “tired and thin… his skin… the color of pancake syrup.” Suzy struggles to articulate her harbored fears, which he gently allays, and the two resume reading about Custard, whose stoicism surely resonates more deeply for them. Vibrantly colored cartoon illustrations, outlined in thick black ink, underscore a child's point of view. The characters' enormous eyes and boldly colored pupils provide an arresting motif. Suzy's increasingly haunted imaginings, depicted on spreads of painterly gray tones with bursts of color, stand in stark visual contrast to the narrative text and illustrations framed by generous white space. The author's spot-on memories paired with child-friendly art create a universal exploration of war and its effect on young children, ideally shared with and facilitated by a sensitive adult.–Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Collins mines her own experience to tell a tender personal story of war seen through a child’s eyes. First-grader Suzy’s father is deployed to Vietnam. At first, though she misses him, she dreams of the exotic jungle. But as the year goes on, marked by Christmas trees and candy hearts, things get harder. His postcards arrive less and less frequently, while news of the war, and its real dangers, comes more and more often. In the end, Suzy’s father returns, and while some things are different, some things are the same. Collins’ unflinching first-person account details the fears and disappointments of the situation as a child would experience them. And where more realistic illustrations would feel overwrought and sentimental, Proimos’ flat, cartoony drawings, with their heavy lines and blocky shapes, are sturdy and sweet, reflecting a child’s clear-eyed innocence. While small personal details and specific references to Vietnam fix the story in one child’s individual experience, it is these very particularities that establish the kind of indelible and heartfelt resonance that is universally understood. Indeed, children missing parents in all kinds of circumstances will find comfort here. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Heard of a little series called The Hunger Games? Yes, well, this is by the very same author. Grades K-3. --Thom Barthelmess

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By pamelathompsonblogger on September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Year of the Jungle
by Suzanne Collins
Illustrations by James Proimos
Scholastic Press
2013
40 pages

A father goes to war, a child is at home wondering if she will ever see her father again. She knows the jungle is where her favorite cartoon character lives so it can't be that scary. They tell her Viet Nam is where her father is and he is going to be away for one year. The child is unsure how long a year is. Her father sends her postcards from the jungle and photos, too. Christmas comes and her father sends her Vietnamese doll. It's winter and snowing outside when she receives a birthday card, but her birthday isn't until summer. Her mother tells her the card is probably for Joanie, her sister, and that her father is "...busy and just got confused." The child worries that her father makes "...such a serious mistake"--he must be very busy and confused. Television news shows scare her; there are men dying in Viet Nam, and her mother rushes to turn off the t.v. After a long time, the father finally comes home, but he acts a little strange at first.

Like Suzanne Collins, my father fought in the Viet Nam War. In fact, he spent three tours there since he was a real adrenaline junkie. Each time he left, we saw my mom worry. We saw the news every night on television. We wondered why my dad was in the jungle. We wondered when he was coming home. He sent home movies to us. My dad standing by his tent, my dad on a boat traveling up a yellow brown river, monkeys fighting and rice paddies. My dad waving and flexing his muscles with his buddies and everyone smiling. My dad always came home, but thousands of young Americans didn't and their kids were forever scarred.
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Format: Hardcover
The subject material of this book, a young girl dealing with the absence of her father while he is away fighting in Vietnam, was surprising due to the simplistic cartoonish style illustrations; another artistic approach would have been better. The narrative is a non-fiction account of the author’s childhood and describes the lack of understanding that a young child may have of war, and the growing fears they face when seeing news clips or the reactions of others when they explain where their parent is. I don’t know what age group I would best recommend for this book but I did enjoy sharing it with my daughter.
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By Be Moore on March 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Very endearing. Brought tears to my eyes with the realism of the simplicity and complexity children see the adult world through. Bravo Suzanne Collins!!!!!! I may never have checked it out from the library, if I had not read " The Hunger Games", and I truly would have been missing out. Thank You Suzanne C.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jon (Scott Reads It!) on September 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Who would've thought that Suzanne Collins would follow up Mockingjay with a picture book? I was caught off guard when Scholastic announced that Collins' next book would be Year Of The Jungle. Though Year Of The Jungle is targeted towards little children, it definitely has Collins' signature style. Year Of The Jungle is a mix of adorable, heartwarming moments and moments where you just want to hug Suzy! This is a perfect book for children whose parent(s) go off to war because it really captures all of the uncertainties and mystery that kids would feel. The drawings are simple, yet well done as is the story. I wasn't expecting Year Of The Jungle to be such a memorable read, I'd definitely recommend it!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on November 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Suzanne Collins, famous for the Hunger Games series, grew up in a military home. In 1968 her father is deployed in Viet Nam. He serves there for over a year. This book is about how the family tried to cope with his absence and also how they try to pick up the pieces when he is finally home. Her father is struggling from post traumatic stress syndrome and it's hard for everyone.

This would be a great book to read to children with parents in the military. It will show them that they are not alone and that communicating with their families will help so much.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Golden on May 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A very truthful account of a young girl's life as her father is deployed for a year. Little Suzy really has no conception of the length of a year, or what "the jungle" signifies, first picturing it as a benign place from TV cartoons, later as she watches the news as a fearful place of war and death. A loving family helps Suzy cope and her Dad is loving when she returns, but we know some things are changed forever for this family, as for all military families. The cartoon artwork is spot on, depicting Suzy's feelings from a child's point of view as her imaginings take a darker turn. A moving and valuable book to share with young children.
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More About the Author

Suzanne Collins has had a successful and prolific career writing for children's television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains It All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Collins made her mark in children's literature with the New York Times bestselling five-book series for middle-grade readers The Underland Chronicles, which has received numerous accolades in both the United States and abroad. In the award-winning The Hunger Games trilogy, Collins continues to explore the effects of war and violence on those coming of age. Collins lives with her family in Connecticut.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#71 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#4 in Books > Teens
#71 in Books
#71 in Kindle eBooks
#4 in Books > Teens
#71 in Books
#71 in Kindle eBooks

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