Friday, March 19, 2010

Skippyjon Jones, if you dare

If you're brave and a muy bit loco, you might be up for meeting the Johannes Family's new favorite literary character, Skippyjon Jones ...and his alter ego, El Skippito Friskito, the Great Sword Fighter. 

The first time I read it, I struggled through the craziness, fumbling and stumbling over the faux Mexican words, the kitty's wild and random imagination, and the required Spanish accent. By the third time through, I had fallen in love. Reluctantly.

Did I mention that Skippyjon Jones is a spunky Siamese cat that thinks he's a Chihuahua? And that this Chihuahua masquerades as the masked super hero, El Skippito Friskito. Or that his mother always speaks in rhyme? And that he has three sisters, Ju-Ju Bee, Jilly Boo and Jezebel? Or that, along with being a fabulous illustrator, the author must also be borderline (completely) nuts?

Halfway through our first reading, I paused and glanced at Matthew. It was classic. He was staring at the book, stupefied, with his mouth hanging open. "Are you okay?" I asked, thinking he was scared or something. Then a smile broke across his face as he declared, "Yeah -- he's funny!!!"

So if you, or your child, are ready to be simultaneously stupefied and entertained, grab a Skippyjon book the next time you're out. Just be ready to leave your inhibitions at the library door, and pull out your best dramatic voice and your most authentic Mexican kitty-Chihuahua accent, and I guarantee you'll have a fun afternoon. And, don't give up after the first reading, it gets better, more rambunctious and more freeing the more you read (er, perform) it. Beware: singing and songwriting are also required. Pick it up if you dare. You'll (eventually) be glad you did.
*Post update:  We have since devoured all things Skippyjon Jones.  We love them all. If you haven't read any of them yet, make sure you start with the original for maximum enjoyment.