This is not a bedtime story. Skippyjon Jones is a story you read to children to get them all whipped up before you turn them loose on the playground. Or on Grandma and Grandpa. Written by Judy Schachner, the story revolves around a Siamese kitten who has been banished to his room by his mother for pretending he is a bird.
"Think about just what it means," she scolds, "to be a Siamese cat!"
While bouncing on his bed and singing songs to himself as a way to wait out his punishment, he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. With his overly large head on a small body and even larger ears, Skippy Jon Jones is amazed at his resemblance to a chihuahua. Thus inspired, he imagines himself to be in Old Mexico at the turn of the 20th century, leading a pack of sword-fighting chihuahua banditos against the evil bean-stealing Bumblebito.
Full of Spanish phrases and songs, this book is impossible for me to read out loud without sounding like Speedy Gonzales. I had no idea Warner Brothers had sunk into my consciousness so thoroughly, but now that I think about it, my French accent does sound quite a bit like Pepe LePeu. le purr! le hissss! le row-rowrrr!
But Alex doesn't know who Speedy Gonzales is, so as far as he's concerned the outrageous accent is all mine. And he gets totally engrossed in the story of the great little swordfighter versus the evil bean-stealer, and enjoys looking at the slightly surrealistic, vividly colored illustrations, too.
Skippyjon Jones is such a great read aloud, I actually think it would be better read in front of a Kindergarten class. Elementary school teachers, knock yourselves out.
Buy the book!
Age Appropriate for ages 5-8
Wednesday, July 13, 2005