Traditional “juba” rhythms have a long history. They originated in Nigeria as hand-clapping games. People who were brought to the New World as slaves fought hard to keep their culture alive against terrible odds. They transformed “juba” rhythms into work songs that were passed down orally.
Juba This, Juba That is based on one of the most popular songs. With its strong beat and read-along repetition, it will delight small children. Along with all the fun there’s also fascinating history and concepts including opposites and prepositions. Children will have fun discovering the story told in the art about a boy named Juba who follows a mysterious yellow cat on a magical, middle-of-the night adventure that leaves them both happy and ready for slumber.
“…Becker’s simple rhyme plays with opposites and is just right for clapping and bouncing along. Lightburn’s lively illustrations perfectly capture the joy of the nighttime escapade and extend the story. The boy and cat are set against backgrounds of diagonal streaks of cool colors that aptly convey movement and a sense of fantasy. This is a good choice for reading aloud to an active group of youngsters.”
— School Library Journal
“Toronto author Helaine Becker draws on catchy Nigerian “juba” rhythms for her latest picture book…. Based on one of the most popular juba songs, Becker’s verses have an open-ended quality that urges movement and participation, and encourages readers to fit their own words into the driving beat. Lots of repetition and strong verbal rhythms are used to present concepts like in/out, big/small, near/far, and left/right, which are reinforced by the accompanying artwork of Governor General’s Literary Award-winning illustrator Ron Lightburn. Vivid against the shaded blues and greens of the background, a young boy in red pyjamas and his yellow cat dash off on a fantastic midnight adventure to a fairground, exploring the concepts with their actions…. The book is full of motion….”
—Quill & Quire
“…Becker, a Toronto author, capitalizes on the traditional rhyme’s natural beat, but also adds concepts like opposites and prepositions to the lively text…. [Ron Lightburn’s…] work infuses the night with motion, colour and excitement that perfectly complement Juba’s magical adventure.”
—The Chronicle Herald
“…The brightly coloured illustrations are vibrant and evocative of a dream-like experience. The young boy and his mysterious cat are connected by colour since the boy has a yellow collar and cuffs on his red pajamas, and the cat's fur is yellow. The fairground is bursting with colour with yellow and blue fireworks exploding overhead, purple and green curtains in the House of Mirrors, multi-coloured toys as prizes and swirling bluish shapes on the roller coaster. The fun-filled fair is a delight for the eyes of readers as well as the intrepid pair. Juba This, Juba That could definitely be used as a read-aloud for children at home and with students in primary classrooms. Becker's story will inspire discussion about issues as far ranging as dreams, rhythm, rhyme, opposites, fairs, dancing, mirrors, roller coasters and friendship.”
—Recommended, CM Magazine
“…Becker also has fun with the use of opposites and prepositions, and children can easily be encouraged to come up with their own rhymes to fit the pattern. Lightburn's illustrations are wonderful, rich and spirited, abounding in mystery and magic. This is a fun and engaging book that is a delight to share with others.”
— Canadian Children’s Book Centre
“…The author chooses word opposites to set the tone for her interpretation of this traditional rhyming game. Children will soon be reading along and wanting to add their own two line verses. Your toes will be tapping and your head nodding as you share it with little ones. Ron Lightburn uses a palette of primary colors to bring light and life to the lively verses. His cool blues and gentle moonlight create a dreamy mood as the two make their way to the much brighter lights of the carnival itself….”
—Sal’s Fiction Addiction