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Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg wasn't a book I was expecting to read but the book came up in discussion when my husband and I were watching episode 15 of Hyouka, "The Jumanji Affair." We wanted to see if Van Allsburg's book had any explanation for the title.
The answer is no.
Jumanji is a use of ritual music to manifest spirits. Manji is the Buddhist swastika.
Jumanji is the author's second book. It's a black and white pencil drawing of ornate scenes. It's heavy on show and little on tell. Two bored kids find a board game they've seen before and decide to play it, thus releasing a curse that can only be put back to sleep if they play the entire game. In the meantime their home is transformed into a jungle and they have numerous life and death situations to deal with.
Since then the book has been made into two different films. There's also a sequel to the book and sequels to the films. I haven't seen any of the films nor read the sequel.
I know this book is widely popular as are many of his other books. I personally find his books off putting. There's just something not quite right about them. They are at the edge of the uncanny valley for me.