Pokko and the Drum
Pokko and the Drum

Pokko and the Drum

Written and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
4 - 8
Reading age
Page count
Words per page
Lexile measure
Oct 1, 2019
Publication date

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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 Kind of Book is Pokko and the Drum


frogs and toadsmusical instrumentssounds or noisesparentingparentswolvesperforming artsfriendshipmusicfamilyforest animalssocial themesperseverancemusiciansdrums

Where Does This Book Stand Out

  • Inventive

    The “Inventive” badge is awarded to books that offer exceptionally original illustrations.

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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What Has Matthew Forsythe Said About This Book

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Book Details

Publication Date
October 1, 2019
Simon and Schuster-Paula Wiseman Books
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.
Page Count
Words Per Page
Reading Age
4 - 8 years
Est. Lexile® Level
Est. Fountas & Pinnell Level
ATOS® Book Level
Accelerated Reader® Points
Accelerated Reader Quiz
Accelerated Reader Interest Level

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Core Score - 55%

More than halfway there—keep going!

Depth Score - 34%

Just the barebones.

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