“Forsythe creates a new children’s book classic with masterful, memorable illustrations and a quirky, original story.”
Forsythe shrewdly begins the tale by informing readers that Pokko’s parents “had made mistakes before,” when it came to parenting Pokko. In a depiction of just one such mistake, “the slingshot,” Pokko is shown sitting in the pocket of a slingshot pulled taut across two pages, bracing herself against a rock. The pent-up potential energy of the scene, coupled with the terrible angle at which Pokko is about to propel herself, make readers cringe without even seeing the outcome: it’s no wonder the slingshot was a mistake. However, an even worse mistake than the slingshot is the drum, and it’s so terrible her parents can’t even hear each other over the commotion to comment on it. “The drum was a big mistake,” says the father, to which the mother replies, “That sounds like a wonderful idea.” Of course, Pokko’s mother is blissfully oblivious throughout the story because she is tucked away in the pages of her own book. But when Pokko’s drumming inspires the formation of a spontaneous band among the forest animals, her parents (at least her father) ultimately come to appreciate her talent and realize “she’s pretty good” after all. Filling the pages with numerous quirky inclusions, including the unfortunate result for two members of Pokko’s forest band who are at disparate positions on the food chain (but the wolf does say he’s sorry, “and he meant it”), Forsythe combines his recognized wit with bold, memorable illustrations in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil, to create a tale that will become a favorite new classic in children’s literature.
"Pokko’s a self-possessed marvel, brave enough to walk alone, face down a wolf, and lead a band. . . . Celebrating both community and individuality, this droll, funny offering will tickle kids and adults alike."
Matthew Forsythe is an award-winning artist and illustrator. He has worked with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Cartoon Network, DreamWorks, and Nickelodeon. He lives in Port Colborne, Ontario.