Author(s) Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrator Chris Van Allsburg
Country United States
Series Board Game
Genre(s) Children's, Fantasy novel
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date 1981
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 32 pp
ISBN 0-395-30448-2
OCLC Number 7196761
Dewey Decimal [Fic] 19
LC Classification PZ7.V266 Ju
Followed by Zathura
Jumanji is the title of a 1981 children's illustrated short story and fantasy story written and illustrated by the American author Chris Van Allsburg. It was made into a 1995 film of the same name. Both the book and the movie are about a magical board game that implements real animals and other jungle elements as the players are playing the game. The troubles which the players have to overcome appear in real life, not only in the board game. "Jumanji" is a combination of "jungle" and "magic".

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


Two siblings, Judy and Peter, are bored one afternoon while their parents are out at the opera. They decide to go to the park across the street, where they find a board game, "Jumanji: A Jungle Adventure Game", under a tree. They decide to take it home and play. The instructions tell each player to choose a piece and place it at the start in the deepest jungle, then roll the dice and move along the path and read the message on the square they land on. The first player to reach the end and call out "Jumanji" wins. It also specifically says that once a game has started, it will not end until someone wins.

Peter starts the game by rolling a seven. This seems fairly unexciting, until he turns around and sees a lion on the piano, which tries to attack him. The lion, luckily, is locked in a room. At this point, Peter wants to quit now, but Judy reminds him that according to the instructions, the lion will only disappear when the game is done. Judy rolls an eight, and releases monkeys which mess up the kitchen. Peter then causes a monsoon that floods the house. Judy rolls the dice and creates a rhinoceros stampede that destroys the house. Peter's next roll releases a deadly python. Judy can finish the game if she rolls a twelve, which she does. Judy's piece reaches the end, and she yells out "Jumanji". A mist surrounds the house, and when it has faded, the house is back to normal. Judy and Peter put the game away and return it to the tree under which they originally found it. After their parents return home, Judy and Peter see Danny and Walter, two of the parents' friends' children who are known for not reading directions, take the game.

See alsoEdit

[1] Novels portal
  • Jumanji (film), a film based on this book. Unlike the book, the film has adult characters like Alan Parrish, Sara Whittle, and Hunter Van Pelt.
  • Jumanji (TV series), animated TV series roughly based on the book and the film.
  • Zathura, another short story written by Van Allsburg, has also been adapted to film; its story also involves children who find a magic board game, but the theme is science fiction rather than jungle fiction. The children are Danny and Walter from the end of the story.

External linksEdit

Preceded by


Caldecott Medal recipient


Succeeded by


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