While their parents are out for the evening, Judy and Peter Shepherd, after playing with some toys, become bored and don't know what to do, so they go to the park. There they find a jungle adventure game called Jumanji, which seems to have been abandoned. They take Jumanji home and find a warning message: "Do not begin unless you intend to finish." They start playing, only to discover that the game is alive: any dangers encountered in the game spring to life somewhere in the house. When Peter rolls on a lion, a real lion appears, which Judy and Peter trap in their mother's bedroom. Judy rolls on a stampede, Peter rolls on a monsoon, Judy rolls on an explorer—each appears in real life to wreak havoc in the house. Still they continue to play, hoping that by finishing the game everything will go back to normal. The game finally ends when Judy rolls on a volcano and yells "JUMANJI!" In an instant everything is back to normal, and the siblings quickly return the game to the park before their parents finally return. The story ends when Judy and Peter look outside and see their neighbors, Danny and Walter, excitedly returning from the park with Jumanji in their hands; what's more is that the two boys' mother claims that they never bother to finish the games they play, nor read the instructions.
Jumanji, a 1995 film based on this story. Unlike the short story, the film has adult characters that didn't appear in the original short story like Alan Parrish (Robin Williams), Sarah Whittle (Bonnie Hunt), Officer Carl Bentley (David Alan Grier), Aunt Nora (Bebe Neuwirth) and a hunter named Van Pelt (Jonathan Hyde). Not only Alan Parrish is the main protagonist instead of Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (Bradley Pierce), but a background story is added in which the game trapped Alan in the jungle many years earlier while he and Sarah were playing back in 1969 and Danny and Walter from the end of the original book don't appear in the film. Also in the movie, Judy and Peter are orphaned after their parents died in a skiing accident (although their parents would appear towards the end of the film) and their aunt is now their legal guardian, and the animals wreak havoc all over town, including Peter transforming into a monkey while trying to cheat and Alan winning the game instead of Judy with everything including time restored back to the way it was before. The drumbeats in the game are heard far away, which never happened in the book.
Jumanji (TV series), an animated TV series roughly based on the book and the film, which ran from 1996 to 1999. Unlike the book and film, the game transports Judy and Peter in the jungle after taking turns and reading a clue instead of releasing all of the jungle elements and there are other villains besides Van Pelt. Also, Peter transforms into various animals while trying to cheat in a few episodes and Alan Parrish from the film remains trapped in the game until the final episode and Danny and Walter from the end of the original book are absent.
Zathura, published in 2002, is a sequel to Jumanji, also written by Van Allsburg. It has also been adapted to film. In Zathura, Danny (Jonah Bobo) and Walter (Josh Hutcherson)—from the end of the Jumanji story—find a magic board game. However, Zathura's theme is science fiction rather than jungle fiction, and Jumanji is never mentioned.