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SkippyJon Jones Hardcover – September 15, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Buoyant and colorful cartoon illustrations match the exuberant text perfectly."—School Library Journal
"The illustrations are as humorous as the story and kids will enjoy them."—Children's Literature
Top Customer Reviews
I know Skippyjon is a little stinker at times, but it was depicted in a much more innocent fashion in the previous books we've read. So I was kind of surprised that he seemed like he was deliberately doing things I wouldn't want my children to do (stealing, fighting, manipulating, etc) and didn't seem to learn anything in the end about his behavior. These issues or the way it's presented might not bother some parents, but if you're concerned about your children's exposure and consequently copycatting others, as kids so often do, then you might want to pass on this one and stick with Skippyjon Jones In the Doghouse until you're ready to tackle discussions regarding these issues.
Other than those few things, the book was fun and funny to read and I love that it promotes using your imagination and teaches a bit of Spanish. On a complimentary note, the series is so good and clever that I just expected more. Please don't let it sway you from checking out the other books. They really are gems. Your kids will LOVE Skippyjon Jones and we can all relate to him in one way or another. The twins didn't like this one as much as some of the others, but they got excited as soon as I pulled the book out as they love the character so much. I'd also highly recommend the sweet tale of "The Grannyman" which led to the Skippyjon series.
I'm still a fan, just hope the author takes him back to a more innocent little guy next time and if she decides not to, that he at least learns from his mistakes.
First, the plot is hilarious. Skippyjon is a Siamese cat with a fantastic imagination. His mother scolds him for being so un-catlike and sends him to his room "to think about what it means to be a Siamese cat." But of course Skippyjon doesn't think for long. His imagination takes over and poof! He's a famous sword-fighting chihuahua off on an adventure in old Mexico. He defeats Alfredo Buzzito, "el blimpo bumblebeeto bandito" and wins back all the beans Buzzito has stolen from Los Chimichangos, a band of desert-dwelling chihuahuas. And of course the noise of this adventure eventually brings him back to reality, with his mother and sisters scolding him again, but in such a fond and loving way that we're left feeling only their affection for the little kitty-boy scamp.
Next, there are the pictures. Young readers and experienced readers both will enjoy the very funny illustrations, which include clues about just how Skippyjon GETS those wild ideas.
Finally, there is the diction. The language in this book is inspired. It rollicks. It rolls. It plays with the audience, teases and tickles and delights little ears. And "holy guacamole," it sure is fun to read aloud!
Thank you, Judith Schachner!
Does everyone realize that the book is not about "Mexican people", it's about cartoon dogs (that are being imagined by a cat)??? I love reading this book to my kids and they love listening to it. They like to pretend they're El Skipito and go on adventures around our house! To address those upset about the "made up Spanish words that are hurting the language and their kids", have you ever read Dr. Seuss? Half of those words don't make sense, they just rhyme with the previous sentences.
To me, the books relate to how young ones work into their imaginary play new languages and ideas on culture. Chihuahuas are thought to be spanish, so SkippyJon, a child-cat, will 'interpret' the language and customs in his own way, with what little knowledge he has, while pretending to be a chihuahua.
Also, to reference a particular point someone made on why the book is so stereotypical, the true reason behind adding the -O after words that aren't spanish is NOT done to suggest that it automatically makes a word spanish. Its done to fit into the song rhythm its meant to go with, and to rhyme with other words.
In the end, if you are concerned about it, teach your child the true customs and explain that the book is about word play between english and spanish, and is make believe and silly. Or, of course, don't read the book at all. But don't be so self-righteous as to denounce the book as racist, because racist is an ugly term that these playful books do not deserve.