Did you know that Jumanji was a book? I mean, I know. I shouldn’t be surprised because, well, everything starts out as a book, but one day we were in the library and I audibly GASPED when I saw the book . . . which
I my daughter promptly checked out. And, it was as fabulous as expected (with great black and white pencil illustrations)!
However, if you’re like me and my uninformed Jumanji book self, you probably first remember the Robin Williams movie version of Jumanji. In the movie, Alan Parrish is a child who finds a super cool board game called (yep, you guessed it) Jumanji. He plays the game with a friend and is transported into the game, never to be seen again . . . until 26 years later when he comes back after a couple of other kids play the game. Then, a great deal of jungle chaos ensues as adult Alan Parrish tries to put the pieces of his life back together by playing the game.
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Now, there’s even a Jumanji board game! (Although I am kind of bummed that it doesn’t come in the wood-carved case like in the movie. I would definitely pay extra to add that collector’s version of the game to our game collection!)
Jumanji Movie Trailer
(This is “Jumanji 1.”)
Is Zathura a sequel to Jumanji?
Hey, did you know that there’s kind of a sequel/not really a sequel to Jumanji? It’s called Zathura, and (look at that!) it’s also a book! (We checked this out the same day as Jumanji and it’s a great book, too!)
Zathura is written by the same author as Jumanji, but the movie is not really a sequel in that it doesn’t carry on the story from the first one or have any of the same characters. However, it does involve two kids playing a game where elements of the game come to life — but in a space version instead of a jungle version.
In the movie version of Zathura: A Space Adventure, two brothers discover an old game and decide to try it out while alone in their house. “On their fantastic journey, they are joined by a stranded astronaut and must survive meteor showers, hostile lizard-like aliens, a rocket-propelled robot who runs amok and an intergalactic spaceship battle. Unless they finish the game and reach the planet Zathura, they could be trapped in outer space forever.”
This movie isn’t as good as the original and certainly doesn’t have the same level of special effects, but it’s still worth the watch. It would make a fun movie night to pair both of the movies and maybe even the game and have a theme party.
(Side note: There was a Zathura board game, but now it’s only available in used or collector’s versions. Just do an internet search.)
Zathura Movie Trailer
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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
This Jumanji reboot brings the “game” into the video game era.
For this Jumanji remake, there’s no board game. (BOO!) Instead, four teens are transported into a retro video game they are playing and assume the avatars that they were playing with during the game.
And, they’re in the jungle . . . again! (Hence, the title . . . )
This movie isn’t a sequel either, however. It is being called “just another Jumanji adventure” in the series of films, even though they reference the original film.
Jumanji Trailer (Welcome to the Jungle)
(This is the “Jumanji 2” movie.)
Lessons, Worksheets, and Activities
Since there are a couple of books, three movies, and games that relate to this topic, there’s enough to create a series of fun learning comprehension lessons and activities!
Read about jungle and rainforest animals:
Do a puzzle (affiliate)
We included Zathura here, too, in case you want to include those lessons with your Jumanji studies:
Zathura inspired space unit study (items for grades 3-8)
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HOW TO HOMESCHOOL
. . . and answer all those pesky myths and questions about homeschooling.