Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)

Cover

Written by Julie Falatko, Illustrated by Tim Miller

Viking, 2016

Snappsy the alligator wasn’t feeling like himself.

The plot in a nutshell:  An alligator is harassed by a narrator.

After being described as draggy and baggy, Snappsy interrupts the narrator to point out that he’s just hungry. He goes searching for food and points out that the narrator is merely telling the reader what they can already see in the pictures. The narrator goes on to say that Snappsy is mean and likes to eat fuzzy bunnies, but he is actually just going to the grocery store to buy food. The narrator continues to give him a hard time as he prepares for a party and finally, Snappsy gets frustrated and yells at him. The party is in full swing and Snappsy opens the door to let the narrator (a chicken) join the crowd.  Everyone has a fun time.

In her first book, author Julie Falatko has a lot of fun playing with the fourth wall and the concept of a (very) unreliable narrator. As soon as we are introduced to Snappsy, the narrator starts telling us things about him and Snappsy starts protesting, insisting that they are not true. While it’s a funny idea that continues to build as the story goes along, it is also a wonderful example of how easy it is to believe everything you hear about someone you don’t know.

Groceries

This grocery store organizes its foods alphabetically.

We see firsthand evidence of this in Tim Miller’s illustrations, which are done in brush and ink, with the assistance of (as he puts it) ‘computer hocus-pocus.’ When the narrator says that Snappsy eats innocent bunnies, a group of terrified rabbits runs away from him and everyone around him seems suspicious of him as the narrator continues to belittle his character. The importance of judging for yourself and not just taking everything you hear as fact is especially meaningful in this era of fake news and misrepresentations on the internet. And the ending models some real kindness, when Snappsy invites the narrator to join his party, in spite of all the hassles he’s given him.

And what did we learn?  What I take away from this book is that you’ll hear a lot of opinions in your lifetime – be wise when choosing the ones to take to heart.

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