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

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

Julie Falatko, illus. by Tim Miller. Viking, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-451-46945-8

As the title makes clear, Snappsy, a skinny alligator who wears a pink tie, is not a happy camper. He is being trailed by an unseen narrator who alternates between drumming up drama (at one point accusing Snappsy of liking to “eat tiny, defenseless birds and soft, fuzzy bunnies,” even when it’s clear that mild-mannered Snappsy shops at the supermarket like everyone else) and falling down on the job. “You’re just describing what you see in the illustrations,” points out Snappsy. So who is this narrator, and what does she/he/it want? Meta-stories often have sour undertones—the joke is ultimately on somebody—but not this one. Snappsy is both highly civilized (he dons a fez while reading) and nobody’s fool, and the motivation of the narrator, when finally revealed, is almost touching. This is the first book for both Falatko and Miller, and it’s an excellent one—Falatko’s writing nimbly zigs and zags around Miller’s bold, goofy cartoons. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Danielle Smith, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Feb.) [/em]