Welcome to Everyone is Talking About, a new feature on the Johnson Elementary School Learning Leopard Library blog that features books and series that students just can’t stop talking about! Check out our Everyone is Talking About posts to learn more about some of the most commonly checked-out, requested, and reviewed books in the Learning Leopard Library.
This week, Everyone is Talking About Skippyjon Jones, the feisty feline star of the Skippyjon Jones picture book series, written and illustrated by Judy Schachner. Skippyjon is just your normal, everyday cat…oh, except he’s convinced that he’s a chihuahua! Maybe it’s his big ears that do it, or his overactive imagination. Whatever the reason, Skippyjon’s mistaken identity gets him into a lot of mischief with his gang of imaginary chihuahua friends, who he calls Los Chimichangos. His mother, (Junebug), three sisters (Jezebel, Jillyboo and Ju Ju Bee), and owner (Mrs. Tinkey) definitely have their hands full with this little guy.
Skippyjon is so popular at Johnson Elementary School that even our assistant principal, Mrs. Thompson, can’t get enough of him. “I love Skippyjon Jones!” she yelled, as soon as I mentioned the name. “He is hysterically funny!” She told me that her favorite part about reading the books is getting to read all of the characters in silly voices. (For the record, she sampled her Skippyjon voice for me, and it’s pretty good. Ask her about it if you see her!)
When I asked Mrs. Thompson what she liked about Skippyjon Jones and his gang, she answered, “It’s a cat who thinks he’s a chihuahua. What’s not to like?” She has only read three of the seven Skippyjon books in Johnson’s library collection so far, but can’t wait to read the rest. “I would absolutely be 100% interested in reading the whole Skippyjon series. And I bet my daughter would too!”
From attending school and visiting the ‘Dog House’ to exploring Mars, the Skippyjon Jones books can take students all over the world using the power of their imagination. The books have won such prestigious awards as the Washington Childrens Book Award, the Colorado Council International Reading Association Colorado Children’s Award for Picture Books, and the E.B. White Read Aloud Award. In 2007, the National Education Association named the first book of the series one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.” Although the term ‘picture book’ may make you think that these books are for younger audiences only, the language and humor that Schachner creates with her stories make the books an entertaining and challenging choice for older elementary readers, too.
Mrs. Thompson thinks that one of the reasons that Skippyjon Jones is so popular with both teachers and students is its innovative use of language. The series mixes English and Spanish words into its pages, giving readers an exciting and friendly introduction to Spanish. “As a teacher, I love that students can use the context clues to figure out what words mean,” Mrs. Thompson said. The books’ language building skills are one of many things that make them classroom favorites all over the world.
Mrs. Thompson had no problem choosing the one word that she would use to describe the Skippyjon Jones books. “Lococito! In Skippyjon Jones language, that means ‘a little bit crazy’!” Mrs. Thompson went on to add that she would definitely suggest these books to teachers, parents, and students. “I laugh out loud every time I read one!”
To learn more about Skippyjon Jones and the many exciting books available from Judy Schachner, visit Skippyjon’s website here. You can also watch Schachner’s series of “webisodes” featuring Skippyjon on Youtube, posted under the username ImSkippyjonJones. The Skippyjon Jones books can be found in the Everybody Books section of the Johnson Elementary School Library, shelved with the call number E SCH. A special thank you goes to Mrs. Thompson for her help!