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Archive for December 10th, 2016

snappsy

by Sam Juliano

There is a prompt disclaimer on the dust jacket cover of the delightfully irreverent Snappsy the Alligator, spoken by the title character via a voice bubble to a rooster, duck and rabbit, that it was not his decision to be included in the book.  The exasperated reptile also responds to the statements made by the book’s creators on the inside flap.  The first one warns readers: I’d be careful around Snappsy the alligator if I were you.  Snappsy challenges the disingenuous censure by asking “What?” and “Why?”  He also denies hunting tiny birds and fuzzy bunnies, possessing a hankering for foods that start with the letter “P” and accuses him of being a “shoddy craftsman” in his home.  While we are clued in on the narrator-main character incompatibility, it is up to author Julie Falatko and illustrator Tim Miller to allow the phrase “the proof is in the pudding” to play itself out.  One is tempted to suggest that if Chuck Jones was in the business of writing picture books, Snappsy the Alligator would be just the project he’d conjure up.

For those readers who like to strip off the dust jacket before commencing, there is another burst of humor on the inside cover.  Snappsy is in bed reading a copy of Falatko and Miller’s book, which comes wildly recommended from the literature’s most celebrated figure.  A picture of Snappsy holding an ice cream cone topped with a dozen scoops, a night table floor shelf with some of the great classics and his pair of bunny slippers bring this maligned gator into more acute focus. Miller’s first set of end papers are replicated by the end set with two noted exceptions.  Snappsy’s domestic responsibilities, physical activities and artistic preferences are on display in a series of charming vignettes.  After a title page that repeats the dust jacket rejection Snappsy is described as dragging himself.  Even his jaw won’t snap says the book’s narrator.  Snappsy laments this deplorable misrepresentation, declaring he is famished and he heads off in search for food.  He passes a pond with a “No Gators” sign and rents a scooter from a  Porky the Pig-like character that allows him to ascend the steepest of hills on a scooter.  After the narrator asserts “He shimmied through the forest” Snappsy derides him as an awful moderator who only describes what he sees in the illustrators. (more…)

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