Jamberry | A Best Picture Book Review
Jamberry is a riotous, jubilant celebration of berries! A boy and a bear and a whole lotta berries!
by Bruce Degen
Here's how much we loved Jamberry at my house: I read this aloud to my daughter while I was driving.
Well, sort of. While I was driving, and my toddler was alone in the back seat, she would open the book and I would "read" (recite from memory) the words on each page. After reciting the page as she followed along with her finger or just looked at the pictures, I would say "Ding!" so that she would know when to turn the page.
We read this book so often that I had the entire book memorized, down to exactly when the page breaks came. That's what a wonderful, rereadable picture book this is!
Jamberry: The Story
A boy and a bear and a whole lotta berries!
This nonsensical but heart-warming story will have everyone tapping their toes and wishing for more ... more books, more berries, just more! The sweet illustrations by author Bruce Degen are filled with energetic fun as the silly rhymes are acted out on the page by the boy and the bear:
One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry
Hat berry, shoe berry, in my canoe berry
Under the bridge and over the dam
Looking for berries, berries for jam!
It is not a counting book, though it does start off with a bit of counting. The bear and the boy progress:
Raspberry, jazz berry, razzamatazz berry
Berry band, merry band, jamming in Berryland!
Boy and bear end up sliding down a rainbow made of every sort of berry imaginable:
Mountains and fountains rain down on me!
Buried in berries! What a jam jamboree!
Author Bruce Degen
He also illustrated his own book!
Bruce Degen has authored and illustrated several children's books; in addition he has illustrated many others that were written by other children's book authors, including the brilliant Magic School Bus series by Joanne Cole.
Mr. Degen was raised in Brooklyn but spent his summers in a rural area of upstate New York, where he picked a lot of berries with his grandparents and got to help turn them into jams and jellies and pies and other goodies.
His fond remembrances were, of course, the inspiration for Jamberry. "It was green. It was soft. You could walk around in bare feet, and we used to go out and pick lots of berries that grew wild. I always thought of the world as being particularly generous and joyful. And when I was searching my memories, trying to write a book for very young children about being joyful, that popped right up."