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.


"This modern-day version of a traditional African chant imagines an adventure that happens one evening when a dark-skinned boy follows a yellow cat to the fair. They laugh at their reflections in the House of Mirrors, take a spooky fun-house ride, and generally have a wonderful time before returning home to bed. 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

"One magical night, a young boy named Juba "spies a yellow cat" on his windowsill and decides to follow it. The cat leads him to a mysterious nighttime carnival, where the two of them dance, laugh at themselves in the house of mirrors, try their luck with a guessing jar and go on spooky rides. When it's time to go back home, not only has Juba had an amazing adventure but he's also gained a special new friend. 

With a strong beat, the words here not only demand to be chanted out loud but also urge our bodies to move in response to their natural rhythm--whether we're stomping or twirling, clapping or patching. 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 

"Although this picture book has less than one hundred words in total, the strong beat and repetition will definitely hold the attention of young children. 

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

"Your toes will be tapping!"  - Sal's Fiction Addiction Blog

Tundra Books
ISBN: 978-0-88776-975-7