Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

12/30/11

"Skippyjon Jones" by Judy Schachner review: Borrows Too Much from Culture and Other Books

"Skippyjon Jones" by Judy Schachner won awards I would not have given it. Is it delightful to read aloud? Absolutely. Fun? Completely. Great drawings? Very good, yes.

So what's my beef?

It feels retread. My boy won't know this, or care. He might, as many other little boys and girls have, love every syllable. I hope so, but I cannot honestly review this merely based on his enjoyment.

He won't remember the Frito Bandito or Speedy Gonzales, both voiced by Mel Blanc. He won't hum "Ay, ay, ay, ay! I am dee Frito Bandito. I like Frito's Corn Chips. I love them, I do. I want Frito's corn chips. I'll take them, from you." However, the infectious corn chip character, ultimately removed because of pressure from Mexican defamation groups, was only around from when I was 1 years old to when I was 5 years old. Over 40 years later, I still know the song.

The Bumblebee Man from TV's "The Simpsons" won't come to mind when he sees the bean eating bumblebee.

When he reads, "A cat, not a bird, not a mouse, or a grouse," he might recognize a similar cadence and repetition in the much more classic and deserving "Green Eggs and Ham," by Dr. Seuss.

Hanna-Barbera characters, dog swordsman Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey, come to mind I read, "Yip, Yippee, Yippito!" "Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey" was not only the original dogs' names, but their rally call.

The exaggerated Mexican accent stereotyping makes me uncomfortable, and not a message I want my boy to learn. Including Spanish phrases is great, and integrated otherwise well.

Intentionally similar? I won't go that far, but with such common features found elsewhere, I cannot consider this book any better than average.

Anthony Trendl
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