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Jasper’s Jumbled up Words, Marg Gibbs (author), Emma Stuart (illus.), M J Gibbs Publisher, July 2020.



Jasper’s Jumbled up Words is a gentle story about a young boy who wants to be understood.

‘In Jasper’s head strange sounds bubble, but in his mouth the words get caught and only babble comes out.’

Jasper soon finds himself confused and upset. Then one day, he surprises everyone.

Jasper’s Jumbled up Words sensitively deals with the difficulties surrounding language development and offers children, parents and care givers hope.



From the fabulous duo, Marg Gibbs and Emma Stuart, a picture book about a young toddler’s journey with learning to speak in a supportive family home setting, is one that truly captures the heart. This is both an evocative and uplifting story that shares realistic feelings of frustration and joy as young Jasper grapples with pronouncing sounds for effective speech and language communication. All this encapsulated in Marg Gibbs’ playful narrative that includes some captivating language devices of its own; the onomatopoeia in enlarged, coloured text creates a lively reading experience for the book’s young preschool-aged audience.

The strong family love and care, including Mum, Dad and brother Lucas, as well as their pet cat Minty and the chooks, is clearly made evident in the illustrations by Emma Stuart. The family, Mum especially, embraces Jasper in a gentle manner at times of anger, sadness and fear. The sweet hugs and the way Mum helps Jasper with his everyday routines are beautifully portrayed in Stuart’s soft watercolours and colourful child-friendly tones against white backgrounds. These features bring a lot of movement and energy and at the same time allow for focus on the important messages of developing resilience and autonomy in a safe and secure environment.

I love the way Marg Gibbs has drawn upon the familiarity of ‘home’ and the importance of relationships for the foundation of a child’s stability and ability for growth. There is effective modelling from a parent’s perspective in patience and guidance. As for young readers, showing routines like teeth-brushing, story time, eating at the table, and acting responsibly with toys and pets, are valuable aspects that encourage positive behaviour and thinking, and the importance of being able to communicate one’s needs.

Jasper’s Jumbled up Words perfectly suits toddlers with its large square format and thick, sturdy pages for little fingers. Not to mention its visually attractive and animated illustrations within a narrative that they can certainly find connection with. Its heart-warming and tender tone is conveyed with a playfulness that will delight and reinforce persistence in children, and hope for care givers that the difficulties will lessen in time.

Youngsters from age two will ‘Tuk! Tuk!’, ‘Squawk! Squawk!’ and ‘Waak, Waak!’ for Jasper’s Jumbled up Words over and over again!

Review by Romi Sharp.


PRAISE for Jasper’s Jumbled up Words.

‘Processing words encourages thinking and problem solving, and helps a young child to develop relationships. It is the basis for learning to read and write which underpins so many other skills.’ (Mother of twins)

‘The message that we need to listen, learn and share respectfully, ask questions of a young child is important in good communication. Jasper’s story is heartfelt and sensitive.’ (Grandparent)

“A delightful and gentle book to illustrate persistence to toddlers and preschoolers.” Helen Christie, Designer.


Please follow Marg at the following links:
Jasper’s Jumbled up Words is available to purchase through M J Gibbs contact | Just Kids’ Lit Shop.

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