Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Friday, September 9, 2011

He's Back! Just in Time for School!

That high jumping, imaginative Siamese cat who thinks he is a Chihuahua is bouncing through the pages of his newest title, Skippyjon Jones: Class Action. Author/illustrator, Judy Schachner, has a title that is going to captivate readers anxious to start school as well as their parents, too.  It has already been on the New York Times Bestseller list for several weeks.

Using acrylics and pen and ink on watercolor paper Schachner's notable illustrations, that fans of Skippyjon Jones have come to love and expect, brighten the storyline in bold shades of red, green, yellow, and blue.  Readers' eyes will drink in the images seeking all the extra details that Schachner is know to include:  a note on Skippy's dresser beneath the mirror--My Darling Boy Think Siamese (heart) Mama,  a bird mobile hanging over his three sisters' kitty condo, Barker Academy No 9 on the school bus, the visitors must sign in at the school is covered with paw prints and The Mona Fleasa on the wall in the art classroom.  This is a search for authenticity as many more are tucked within the illustrations.

Skippyjon Jones was just dying to go to school.

Mama Junebug Jones has a list of reasons why that is not going to happen; first and foremost, school is not for smart Siamese cats but DOGS!  The big-eared ball of bounce ponders her thoughts until glancing in the mirror, he once again becomes---Skippito Friskito! 

Into the closet he goes boarding a school bus filled with Los Chimichangos, friends from past adventures.  They speedily inform him of a danger:  a wool-sweater-wearing bully that buzzes around the halls of higher learning in a tiny teacup!  Yup, a teacup. 

The day starts with a race in the halls to fetch a bucket of balls thrown by none other than Principal Begalot.  Whether dabbling in art, howling in music, counting in math, reading in the library or speaking the language of France, Skippy and company excel.  Rather than going next to Obedience Class the group is snoozing in the trophy case.  An enormous sound awakens them.  Before they know it they are whirling and swirling down the halls headed for a crash landing.  Amidst the ensuing chaos Mrs. Begalot enters the lunchroom.

"I smell a cat!" she bellowed.  "That cat better scat!"

A final tune, a kiss felt through the layers of covers and sleepy goodnights bring this sure-fire winner to a close.

Judy Schachner's rhythmic, rhyming verses punctuated with clap happy songs and humorous turns of phrase spell out action packed movement with a capital M.  Her nod to Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat blend "beat-i-fully".  Using splashes of Spanish followed by the English equivalents flowing effortlessly opens language windows; opportunities for this teacher with a Spanish minor to introduce more about that language.

This title will always be out.  (clap-clap)
I can hear the children shout. (clap-clap)
El Skippito Friskito Ole!

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