From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2 Expanding on the popular song, Johnson spins the tale of Yodeler Jones, a hound dog who serves nothing but meatballs and spaghetti at his dining establishment. When business begins to slow, Yodeler concocts a brand-new meatball, but before he can taste it, someone sneezes, setting the song into action with the pooch and his animal pals in pursuit of the flyaway meatball. With original text printed in black and the lyrics sprinkled throughout in color, this story successfully marries the two. The loony illustrations, full of color and movement, effectively capture the zaniness. Pair this book with Judi Barrett's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
(S & S, 1998) and Ryan SanAngelo's Spaghetti Eddie
(Boyds Mills, 2002) for a yummy storytime treat. Lisa Gangemi Kropp, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PreS-Gr. 2. In this picture-book invitation to a noisy storytime, seasoned author-illustrator Johnson extends songwriter Tom Glazer's classic anthem to spaghetti with an original frame story. When a gimmicky snack shop steals customers from a spaghetti cafe run by a beagle and mouse, the proprietors set out to concoct "the most dee-licious meatball this side of Sicily." Johnson's thickly outlined, ebullient acrylics show the delectable creation launched forth by a giant sneeze, ultimately sprouting into a meatball tree that puts the pasta joint back in the black. Lines from the song appear sandwiched between paragraphs of text, and the discontinuous presentation of the familiar lyrics may initially confuse children. But the slapstick, folksy tone of Johnson's contributions--especially the recurring exclamation, "Pardon my meatball!" as the foodstuff ricochets pinball-style around the community--will help to refocus children's attention from singing to listening. This jaunty offering will undoubtedly enter the sing-along rotation, and will have particular savor on days when spaghetti is on the lunch menu. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved