Baby Book Review: Rum Pum Pum by David L. Harrison, Jane Yolen, and Anjan Sarkar

Rum Pum Pum by David L. Harrison and Jane Yolen, and illustrated by Anjan Sarkar is a fantastic read-aloud. It’s about a lonely tiger who finds a drum in the jungle, a drum that says “rum pum pum” when his tail thumps it. Drum becomes Tiger’s friend, and he goes along the road with it, meeting monkey, rhinoceros, parrot, chameleon, and elephant along the way. Fascinated by the drum, they all follow the tiger and become his friend. However, the animals get to arguing over who carries the drum, and a child overhears their argument and claims the drum for himself, playing it for the animals. It’s then revealed that the drum and the animals are the boy’s (they’re his toy animals), and this is a story he’s been making up. All the animals go to sleep to the sound of his story at the end.

Cover of Rum Pum Pum by Harrison and Yolen

There’s lots of repetition in this picture book, which is why it’s such a great read-aloud. My toddler has each animal call memorized and can answer when I pause where the animal’s call goes. I loved books by Jane Yolen when I was a child, so I’m thrilled to pick up new books by her to share with my own child and discover a new author (David L. Harrison) and illustrator (Anjan Sarkar) in the process. This is a slightly longer than average picture book, yet my daughter (currently 3) has no issues sitting through it. It’s very engaging.

David L. Harrison agreed to write an original poem for Baby Librarians based on Rum Pum Pum! And it’s about my daughter’s favorite character in the book: the monkey. Here it is:

Rum Pum Pum poem by David L. Harrison

Original Poem by David L. Harrison
Monkey chatters in a tree,
much too wise to leave her limb,
too smart to fall for tricks by him,
chatter, chatter, “chee-chee-chee.”

Monkey chatters in a tree,
I like the song of, “Rum pum pum.
After all I think I’ll come.”
Swinging monkey, “chee-chee-chee.”

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