Jumpy Joey the Red Kangaroo

As reviewed by Nancy Tobin for Readers’ Favorite

Jumpy Joey the Red Kangaroo written by Marilyn Helmer and illustrated by Paul Hock is a charming introduction to Australia’s most famous marsupial. Filled with fun, interesting facts in this informative text, the book is educational for older children and perfect for young children who may have never seen or heard of a kangaroo. This book delightfully describes the journey of Jumpy Joey from his tiny birth to adulthood. The theme of this strange baby animal growing from a tiny “peanut” size to 200 lb. maturity brilliantly illustrates and teaches the fascinating life cycle of this marsupial, using large colorful pictures that support the story. The pictures show the action and motion of the animals, and the text successfully invites participation from the child reader by asking questions for them to ponder.

Jumping Joey the Red Kangaroo has fun facts on how high a kangaroo can jump, the use of his feet, his size and weight, and is full of comparisons, which children love. Children will also love that the illustrations catch the eye and can stand alone to tell the story. The book uses age-appropriate language but adds a few challenging words for early readers. Math teachers and parents alike will appreciate the measurement references giving both imperial (US) and metric conversions. Especially interesting is the last page, where Marilyn Helmer states additional research and educational facts about kangaroos. This is fascinating content for teachers, adults, and children alike. Who knew kangaroos in Australia outnumber humans by more than two to one? Who knew they can’t walk backward? I didn’t!