Remember those cartoons about Ralph, the little boy who would become consumed by his fantasies? Well, imagine Ralph is a Siamese cat named Skippyjon Jones and he likes to affect a Mexican accent and be a hero. The first book is wonderful! He is banished to his room and goes into "Ralph" mode to become El Skippito.
I was happy to see that SKIPPYJON JONES, the first book, won an award for Best Read-Aloud Book. Judy Schachner, the author, has created something very special. Everything about the character and his family (Mama Junebug Jones, Joo-Joo Bee, Jillyboo) is just too adorable. You’re going "awwww…" practically every page.
I noticed at www.amazon.com that a couple of reviewers took offense at the nod to Mexican culture. Considering how the language of urban African-Americans has pervaded even corporate-speak, I really don’t see what they are complaining about. Surburban children of this generation LIKE to be seen as "gangstas" and "bangers" and "pimps". If you’re looking for insults to one’s culture, do yourself a favor and start there. I’m a Mexican-American who grew up on the border where people don’t have a sense of humor about themselves. But that’s because they are badly educated, naive, unworldly. Those of us that have been out in the world a bit can see the humor. But this was not meant to be a rant about self-conscious, PC-obsessed types.
This book is friendly, full of love, good humor, wonderful dancing language and beautiful artwork. If you’re offended, that’s your problem, not the book’s.
If you buy the toy/book set, be warned. They are quite small. I bought the big doll separately and these two hardcovers. Since I’m Mex/Am, it really works out well for me to do the voices. That’s the fun part. The thing about reading stories aloud — you can’t be preoccupied with your looks. If you’re afraid to look like a dork, forget it. You have to sing where you’re supposed to sing. Yell where you’re supposed to yell. Make faces, gestures, MOVE! If you sit perched on a chair and read like a prim schoolmarm, you "lose the dressing room", as they say in soccer.
MUMMY TROUBLE, btw, comes with a CD. Cool!
OTHER SKIPPYJON JONES BOOKS:
- Skippyjon Jones in The Doghouse
- Skippyjon Jones and The Big Bones
- Skippyjon Jones Color Crazy
- Skippyjon Jones Up and Down
- Skippyjon Jones and The Treasure Hunt
- A Surprise for Mama
[These might not all be story books. COLOR CRAZY, when I saw it at the bookstore, was a very basic picture book.]
The books are available at the usual major booksellers.