Jumanji (picture book)

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CM jumanji.jpg
AuthorChris Van Allsburg
IllustratorChris Van Allsburg
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's, fantasy novel
PublisherHoughton Mifflin
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
[Fic] 19
LC ClassPZ7.V266 Ju
Preceded byThe Garden of Abdul Gasazi 
Followed byZathura 

Jumanji is a 1981 fantasy children's picture book, written and illustrated by the American author Chris Van Allsburg.[1] It was made into a 1995 film of the same name. Both the book and the film are about a magical board game that implements real animals and other jungle elements as the game is played; thus the dangers which the players have to overcome in the game also appear in real life. Jumanji star Robin Williams said "jumanji" is a Zulu word meaning "many effects",[2] as did Van Allsburg.[citation needed] In 2011, Williams recorded an audiobook for its 30th edition.[3]

Fritz, a bull terrier in all of Chris Van Allsburg's books, appears as a toy dog on wheels in the third illustration.


While their parents are out for the evening, Judy and Peter Shepherd, after playing with some toys, become bored and decide to go to the park. There they find a jungle adventure game called Jumanji. Taking the game home, they find a warning message; "Do not begin unless you intend to finish". Ignoring the warning, they start to play.

The pair soon discovers that any dangers encountered in the game spring to life somewhere in the house. For example, 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, and Judy rolls on an explorer—and each appears in real life to wreak havoc in the house. Still they continue to play, hoping that if they finish the game everything will go back to normal. The game finally ends when Judy rolls a volcano and yells "Jumanji!".

In an instant everything is back to normal and the siblings quickly return to the park and abandon the game before their parents 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 with the knowledge that their mother claims the brothers never bother to finish the games they play nor read the instructions.


  • Jumanji, a 1995 film based on the story. Unlike the short story, the film has adult characters that did not 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 big-game hunter named Van Pelt (Jonathan Hyde who also portrayed Alan's father, Sam Parrish). Not only is Alan Parrish 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. Danny and Walter Budwing from the end of the original book do not appear in the film. Also in the film, Judy and Peter are orphaned after their parents died in a car accident in Canada and their aunt is now their legal guardian. Other changes are that the animals wreak havoc all over town, Peter transforming into a monkey while trying to cheat and Alan ultimately winning the game instead of Judy with everything including time restored back to the way it was before. The drumbeats in the game are also 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.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a 2017 film that stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan.[4] Though not a strict sequel, it uses many of the same premises as the 1995 film.


Zathura (published in 2002) is a sequel to Jumanji also written by Van Allsburg. In Zathura, Danny and Walter Budwing (from the end of the Jumanji story) find a science fiction board game that similarly causes the effects of the game to come to life.[5] It has also been adapted to film in 2005.[6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ Wheeler, Jill C. (2005). Chris Van Allsburg. Edina, Minn.: ABDO Pub. Co. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-59197-721-6.
  2. ^ "Flashes: Name of the Game". Entertainment Weekly. December 8, 1995. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  3. ^ "Jumanji 30th Anniversary Edition". FictionDB. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  4. ^ Matthew Mueller. "The Rock Says New Jumanji Is Not A Reboot". Comicbook.com.
  5. ^ Zbaracki, Matthew D. (2008). Best Books for Boys: A Resource for Educators. Libraries Unlimited. p. 56. ISBN 9781591585992.
  6. ^ Kümmerling-Meibauer, Bettina (December 6, 2017). The Routledge Companion to Picturebooks. Routledge. p. 526. ISBN 9781317526599.
  7. ^ Tompkins, Gail E. (2003). Literacy for the 21st Century: Teaching Reading and Writing in Grades 4 Through 8. Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall. p. 263. ISBN 9780130986542.
  8. ^ Leypoldt, E. (2004). The Publishers Weekly. 54. p. 23.
  9. ^ Owen, Lynette (October 17, 2014). Selling Rights. Routledge. p. 318. ISBN 9781317611813.
Preceded by
Caldecott Medal recipient
Succeeded by