51. Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Retell: Skippyjon Jones is an imaginative Siamese cat. After catching her son in a bird’s nest she banishes Skippyjon to his room so he can think about what it means to be a cat. Instead he imagines that he is a chihuahua named Skippito Friskito.
Topics: individuality, creativity, imagination, parents, Spanish
Units of Study: Talking and Writing about Texts, Realistic Fiction
Habits of Mind: creating-imagining-innovating
Reading Skills: envisionment, making connections, monitoring for sense
Writing Skills: incorporating rhyme and rhythm, writing stories based on real life
My Thoughts: I purchased this book at JFK while waiting for my flight to Portland. The rhyming chants in the book caught my eye. It seems like it will be a fun book to read aloud. I like how the book promotes having an active imagination. However, I don’t feel I’d be comfortable reading this book aloud without encouraging my students to think critically about whether or not the book is culturally sensitive. When Skippyjon becomes a chihuahua he starts speaking in a Spanish accent–which means ending most of his words with -ito. He doesn’t say ‘big’ he says ‘beeg’. The author isn’t trying to create an authentic Mexican character. She’s trying to write a story about a character who likes to play pretend. At any rate, this book could be great to read or reread during a critical reading study. If you click on the book image above the link will take you to an interesting comments thread on Powell’s website.