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Saturday, August 15, 2015

I YAM A DONKEY. story, pictures, and bad grammar by Cece Bell. Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Thomas Allen & Son, 2015. $21.99 ages 6 and up

"So you is a donkey - you
just said so! Let's hear
your hee-haw, donkey!

No, no, no! You
are a donkey.
I am a yam.

You is a yam? I yam

Oh, boy! It is one of those routines that will have listeners and readers giggling with delight. The yam wants immediately to put the grammar-challenged donkey in his place by giving him clear instructions on how sentences should be constructed. The donkey takes the language guidance literally, creating a situation that has the yam frustrated, and persistent in trying to bring clarity to the conversation. They are at a crossroads ... the donkey just doesn't get it. But then, neither does the yam!

"You is a yam?
I yam confused. Because
I know I heard
you say, "I yam
a donkey."

"Don't say
"yam"! It's "am"!
Am, am, am!"

Concerned passer-by vegetables hear the 'big fight' and get involved in the demonstration. Only then does the donkey realize the truth about the story. It has nothing to do with grammar ... it's about lunch!

Terrific wordplay, and a boatload of fun in the china marker and acrylics on vellum artwork, make this one of those books that will be shared again and again. Great for voice and character, it would be fun for readers' theatre or for an assembly performance piece. The moral is a perfect ending to a most enjoyable romp concerning language.

Be sure to share this with older, savvy readers and they will be rolling in the aisles!

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