04 January 2008

Bedtime Stories

Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble (Schachner, Judy)
Wilfred the Rat (Stevenson, James)

I'm not a fan of Skippyjon Jones, the Siamese cat who insists that he is a chihuahua, but I have to admit that I liked this outing. Maybe it's because he wasn't as willfully naughty as he has been in past books. Maybe it was Judy Schachner's narration (I confess, we listened to CD, rather than test my cold-plagued voice) and her funny little accent and rolling of her R's. Maybe it was the reference to the "Under Mundo" and the fact that The Night Tourist was still fresh in my memory. Whatever it was--I liked this one. Skippyjon decides that he wants to visit Ancient Egypt. And, despite the warnings of his own Mummy (warning that he will get scared,) Skippyjon escapes to his closet and sets off on adventure with his band of Chimichangos. There are plenty of silly worditos, as in the previous books, which I think is part of the appeal.

And continuing my efforts to highlight any book with favorable representations of rats, I present Wilfred the Rat. James Stevenson, for all of his wry brilliance, is rapidly approaching Lost Treasure status. His Worst Person in the World books are pretty hard to come by, as are his Monty stories. "Wilfred" tells the story of a rat who finds himself at an amusement park abandoned for the winter. While there he befriends a squirrel and a chipmunk who show him the pleasures of a pleasure park when there are no people to chase them away. These are Wilfred's first friends, and when he has the opportunity to chose between fame or friends, the choice is easy. You can add "loyalty" to the list of fine ratty qualities!

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