Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book!)
by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim Miller
Published by: Penguin Random House
Release date: February 2016
From the publisher:
Snappsy the alligator is having a normal day when a pesky narrator steps in to spice up the story. Is Snappsy reading a book … or is he making CRAFTY plans? Is Snappsy on his way to the grocery store … or is he PROWLING the forest for defenseless birds and fuzzy bunnies? Is Snappsy innocently shopping for a party … or is he OBSESSED with snack foods that start with the letter P? What’s the truth?
I’ve been blogging for a while now. My oldest was a year old when I started. She’ll be 7 in a few weeks. In that time, I’ve met many people, read many books, and shared those books with others who will hopefully love them as much as I do.
But it’s extra-special when I get to share a book I’ve watched grow from the very very early stages.
Julie and I “met” through our shared agent (I think? Maybe before?) three years ago. I very clearly remember the day this book deal was announced. And then illustrator Tim Miller began releasing glimpses of early sketches. And then the cover reveal. And the first advanced copies came out. And then the reviews began rolling in. STARRED reviews. Lots of ’em. And the excitement kept building and building and y’all…
THAT’S SO MUCH FUN.
Finally, two weeks ago, the copy arrived in my hands. Then it left my hands.
Those starred reviews don’t lie. Poor Snappsy is just your typical nice-guy alligator, trying to get on with his day. A normal, errand-running, non-remarkable day. Groceries, lunch, a good book. A little party planning. Things would be fine, except for the unseen pesky narrator who keeps a running commentary on Snappsy’s activities, first accusing him of stalking innocent shoppers and fuzzy bunnies, then following him home, then accusing him of being boring. It’s like the younger sibling that follows you around the house. “Whatcha doin? Whatcha doin’? WHATCHA DOIN’?” It’s no wonder that Snappsy snaps (HA! See what I did there?) But this is not your ordinary narrator and, as the reader will soon find out, not so easily scared off.
The story has a surprise twist ending, but other surprises abound throughout the illustrations. Read it once, then go back and read it more slowly, spending time on each of the full-page spreads. It’s a little like one of those hidden picture games. Tim has included little details, jokes, and added moments in some of the most unexpected places. We’ve read it cover to cover multiple times and are still discovering new details on every read. And, as I’ve taught my kids, always, always remember to look under the dust jacket.
Congratulations, Julie, Tim, and Snappsy. Y’all sure know how to throw a party.