The Definitive Guide to

Pokko and the Drum

Written and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
- Bookroo Rating
Goodreads Rating - 4.4 / 5.0
List Price
Target Age
Book Type

What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

“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.

What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019! A Today Show Best Book of the Year! “Extraordinary.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Inspirational.” —Booklist (starred review) “Laugh-out-loud funny.” —Shelf Awareness (starred review) “Will tickle kids and adults alike.” —Kirkus Reviews “An instant classic.” —Quill & Quire (starred review)

From E.B. White Read Aloud honor artist Matthew Forsythe comes a picture book about a magical drum, an emerald forest, and the little frog who dares to make her own music.

The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her the drum. When Pokko takes the drum deep into the forest it is so quiet, so very quiet that Pokko decides to play. And before she knows it she is joined by a band of animals —first the raccoon, then the rabbit, then the wolf—and soon the entire forest is following her. Will Pokko hear her father’s voice when he calls her home?

Pokko and the Drum is a story about art, persistence, and a family of frogs living in a mushroom.

What Kind of Book is Pokko and the Drum

Quotes from This Book

  • "The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her a drum."
  • “No more eating band members or you’re out of the band.”

Where Does This Book Excel


What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • When Pokko starts to play her drum in the forest, other animals join her, and they form a spontaneous band. Have you ever had friends join you when you were doing something that looked fun?

  • Pokko’s parents ultimately realize that she’s pretty good at playing her drum and that maybe giving it to her wasn’t a mistake. What can readers learn from the ending of the story?

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Book Lists That Include Pokko and the Drum

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Perfect Children's Books About Parenting
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Children's Books About Colored Pencils
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Who Wrote Pokko and the Drum

author & illustrator
Matthew Forsythe

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.

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What Has Matthew Forsythe Said About This Book

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Matthew Forsythe know that we want more details from them about Pokko and the Drum!

Matthew Forsythe's Book Dedication

For my parents

What Do Critics Say About This Book

  • Kirkus Reviews

    “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.”

    Read full review >>
  • Publishers Weekly

    “In embracing one’s own beat, Pokko discovers, extraordinary things can happen—surprising things, upsetting things, and glorious things, too.”

    Read full review >>

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Book Details

ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Publication Date:
October 1, 2019
Text Details:
The text for this book was set in Goudy Modern MT Std.
Illustration Details:
The illustrations for this book were rendered in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil.