The Django

by Levi Pinfold

Reading Age: 8+

Interest level: 5+

by Levi Pinfold

This book, based on the story of legendary jazz musician Django Reinhardt, is illustrated in a detailed and painterly style, evoking the Romany gypsy traveller lifestyle that the young Django (Jean) lived as a child, with old fashioned caravans and scenes round the camp fire. 


The boy Jean is taken over by ‘the Django’, who has a life of his own, makes Jean play and then damage his father’s banjo and generally causes trouble.  But Jean’s father realising his son must have musical talents buys him his own banjo.


The Django eventually disappears to leave Jean to develop his musical talents on his own – but with a suggestion that he may be hiding somewhere in the background whenever music is being played, dancing and singing along with Jean. 
This insight into what makes a musical genius is a beautiful and fascinating read.


Publisher: Templar

About the author

  • Levi Pinfold

    Levi Pinfold was born in the Forest of Dean. His love of stories, painting and the work of illustrators such as Maurice Sendak, Alan Lee and Dave McKean led him to study Illustration at the University College Falmouth, where he developed narrative illustrations in his own style; a stylised realism.

    Alongside painting, Levi writes stories in his spare time. Since graduating from university in 2006, Levi has worked as a self employed illustrator. The Django (Templar Publishing) his debut picture book, is inspired by Levi's love of music. Levi lives and works in Cornwall, and plays banjo and guitar when no one else is looking. Levi won The Book Trust Early Years Award in the Best Emerging Illustrator Category for 2010.


    Levi was chosen for a Book Trust Best New Illustrators Award in 2011.


    Illustration Technique


    Creating stories is an organic process for Levi. Sometimes he does a drawing and then the story might come afterwards which is common with people who write and illustrate. He likes to get the text finalised before he starts on illustrations.
    Levi works up detailed roughs to arrange the order of illustrations so that both he and his publisher know what they are getting before he starts the long process of painting. He typically takes from one to three weeks on each illustration as he likes to paint a lot of detail as he enjoyed detailed illustrations as a child. As a child he absorbed himself in books and comics which were big influences on him as he grew up, as well as fine art as an adult.

    Levi grew up on Roald Dahl and Morris Sendak, John Burningham, Pat Hutchins, and was obsessed with Clocks, Clocks and More Clocks. He now loves painters like Breugel, David Friedrich and the Romantics. He says that if you cast your net as wide as you can you can take bits from other artists. You can see what’s possible.

    The Django was painted in watercolours and gouache and his latest book, Black Dog, is painted in tempera – a mix of pigment with egg and water which has the same light touch as gouache but you can lay down dark underwashes with.

    Levi Pinfold
    Levi Pinfold
Average rating: 3/5

What you thought

I am a grandmother, and I loved this book. The story is gently humorous, and the pictures are so absorbing. I have read it with children from 2 to 8 years, and they most of all like looking into the pictures and telling their own stories.

Barbara H
6 January 2011

This story has an amazing twist too it!

Rating: 5 star
Tracy Morn
15 June 2015

i can't wait to meet you at parkgate primary school at Wednesday 12 of June!!!!!!

Rating: 5 star
kittichai mccoy
10 June 2013

Tell us what you thought

Average rating: 3/5