The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste is a middle grade fantasy filled with magical creatures from Caribbean folk tales. Baptiste, who is from Trinidad, grew up with stories about forest dwelling creatures, some evil, some sneaky tricksters, who come at out night do mischief and prey on anyone who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. During the day, Jumbies masquerade as members of the community and might be your next door neighbor. There are douens, spirit babies who appear as children with their feet and knees on backward, and La Diabless, beautiful women who wear long white dresses with big fancy hats and have one cow’s hoof in place of a foot. Soucouyants are old ladies who shed their skin at night, shape-shift into balls of fire, and fly around sucking people’s blood, and there are the chain-wearing, coffin-carrying lagahoo.
Set on an island in the Caribbean, eleven-year-old Corinne La Mer must call upon the magic inside of her to save her father from an evil Jumbie who possessed him and has organized a Jumbie army to destroy the entire island. Corinne gets help from homeless brothers, Bouki and Malik, and a timid East Indian girl named Dru.
This exciting and suspenseful adventure comes with some lessons about accepting differences, taking care of the homeless, and making room for everyone, including Jumbies whom the islanders have pushed into dwindling habitat.
It was nice to read a fantasy based on Afrocentric lure. Anyone bored with dragons and unicorns, vampires and werewolves, check out The Jumbies. Learn more about Tracey Baptiste at: https://traceybaptiste.wordpress.com.