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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Snappsy the Alligator: Did Not Ask to Be in This Book, written by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Tim Miller. Viking, Penguin. 2016. $21.99 ages 5 and up

"He scooted up the
tall, tall hill.

He shimmied through
the forest.

You're an awful narrator.
You're just describing
what you see in the

Remove this book's paper cover to get an early taste for how Snappsy the Alligator feels about this intrusion into his life. 'Hey! Do you mind?' he asks as we stumble upon him reading his very own book in bed. Before moving to the story, be sure to take a close look at the endpapers to see just how normal his life is.

It is no wonder that he is clearly annoyed when a nosy narrator makes unfair claims about his day and his life. Intimating that Snappsy needs a nap is only the first of many annoyances for the young and fashionable alligator. The next is Snappsy's concern that all the narrator is doing is describing the illustrations, not really making an attempt to report any truths. In fact, the narrator portrays Snappsy in this way:

"Snappsy, the big, mean alligator kept looking for food. He liked to eat
tiny, defenseless birds and soft, fuzzy bunnies."

Nothing could be further from the truth and Snappsy lets the audience know that he buys FOOD at a grocery store, like everyone else. While trying to convince readers that this alligator only eats 'p' foods, a look at his grocery list proves otherwise. It continues when Snappsy returns home. His door sports a sign: No Narrators Allowed. Once Snappsy goes inside, the narrator imagines what might be happening which is again far from the truth.

To prove that his story is not as boring as the narrator makes it seem, we learn that Snappsy is planning a party.

"You know what?
I did not ask to
be in this book! I
was just having a
normal day! And
suddenly you were
talking about what
I was doing, so I'm
throwing a party to
make things more
interesting! I hope
you're happy! Now
I just want you to
buzz  off!"

Party in full swing, guests arrive for a fun time, and then, a surprise guest with an ulterior motive.

The alternating voices, and the varying perspective make this a wonderful book for reading aloud. It's hard to believe it is the debut work for both author and illustrator. They each do an exemplary job of creating a flawless picture book. Full of humor and warmth, with the just right amount of righteous indignation and unpredictable narration, it is a story that will be enjoyed time and time again. I can't wait to share it with a class in the fall.                                                                      

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