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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Crankee Doodle, written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by Cece Bell. Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Thomas Allen & Son, 2013. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"Shopping? I hate shopping.
I have too much stuff already.
It's all junk. They don't make
stuff like they used to. It falls
apart as soon as you get it home.
And the prices!
I might as well throw my money
in the outhouse hole.
Why would I want to go

Be sure that your students and your own kids at home know the song before you share this silly book! They will thoroughly enjoy the humor, once they know what lies behind the author's telling.

Turns out that Yankee Doodle had been suffering from debilitating boredom. Only wanting to help, his pony suggests a trip to town for shopping. It's enough to set Yankee off on a tirade about the many downfalls of shopping. Each new suggestion is met with further derision. It seems the last straw is calling the hat 'macaroni'.

"First of all, why would I want to call my hat macaroni? I don't want to call my hat anything! It's just a hat! Second of all, why would putting a feather in my hat turn it into macaroni?"

You get the picture...and so will kids. Such silliness is bound to result in giggles and much enjoyment. I am sure it will garner the 'please, read it again!' chant as soon as the final page is turned. Because it is a just-right read aloud, I am sure you will surrender to those pleas.

When the horse suggests lasagna as an alternative, Yankee has had it. Into the dump the hat goes, leaving the pony to bravely suggest a new hat. Just as the pony has wanted all along, the two end up going to town...and they have a surprise in store for their listeners!

Perfect fare for a wild and wacky read aloud, and for allowing the reader a chance to practice worthy outrage and voice, this is sure to be a huge hit. The illustrations are done in gouache, boldly outlined in black and ensure that all who sit to listen will be able to see them. It would make a lively reader's theater performance!

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