Jungle Journey, by Mary Britton Miller and illustrated by Tobias Schneebaum
Five out of five stars
This short epic poem is based on a true story, when artist Tobias Schneebaum took a solitary journey on foot into the jungle of Peru. While the prose was written by Mary Britton Miller, the illustrations are by Tobias. Taking neither a compass or a gun, Tobias went to the edge of the jungle and began walking. He did not even carry a backpack. His goal was to experience the jungle to the greatest extent possible as well as to make contact with some of the native people. Eventually, Tobias encounters a group of the native people and he eats cooked monkey with them. His cut of the meat is an arm with the hair still on it. He spends the night with them, although he cannot stand the smell in their dwellings.
The images are simple in structure, yet provide sufficient detail so that the reader can understand them. The prose rhymes at times, yet most often does not. It is written at a level that the middle school student will easily understand.
The story is that of a man on a great adventure into a wilderness that was largely unexplored when the journey took place in 1956. Tobias is to be commended for having the courage to set out on a walking journey with almost nothing in terms of food, clothing or implements. As is pointed out in the story, his adventure was not without danger, yet his tactics allowed him to experience the jungle in ways that he otherwise could not.