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Skippyjon Jones: 01/23/15

cover artSkippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner is the first in a twenty book picture book series about a Siamese kitten who looks like a Chihuahua and thinks he's one too. His mother cat, though, isn't convinced.

Skippyjon Jones lives in a perpetual fantasy world where he is convinced he's a small yapping dog who speaks Spanish. Except he's a small, delusional kitten, who according to Jane H. Hill, speaks Mock Spanish.

As a series, the Skippyjon Jones books have even inspired a masters thesis on its repeated use of Mock Spanish (Analyzing the use and function of Mock Spanish in the picture book collection Skippyjon Jones by Alicia Juncos Zori).

So far I've read exactly two of the books, the first and the last (Cirque de Olé). I found the Mock Spanish more prevalent in the latest book as the focus was on Skippyjon Jones joining a flea circus. And of course, the fleas spoke the pseudo Spanish of Speedy Gonzalez of the 1950s Warner Bros. cartoons (the most recent iteration actually speaks both fluent Spanish and English).

I think Skippyjon Jones in the first book was supposed to be more about a child's (or in this case, kitten's) over active imagination and the silliness of a cat trying to be a dog. What it seems to have become over the course of the series is a tale of a misappropriation of culture.

For this first book, though, I'm still giving it a high rating because by itself it's about play and imagination, and not the "humorous" sounds of Mock Spanish.



Three stars

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