It's time to start practicing your "very best Spanish accent," because our favorite Siamese Chihuahua is back again, and this time he's going to school! That's right, Skippyjon Jones Class Actionis here, so get excited! This newest adventure featuring the adorable kitty-boy who thinks he's a chihuahua was released this summer (July 2011), making it the 6th Skippyjon Jones picture book by author Judy Schachner. If you (oh, and your students) loved the first 5 picture books, then you're sure to love the newest adventure.
This time, Mama Junebug's little mischief-maker sneaks off into his closet when doggie school is placed off limits. There he meets up with his old friends, Los Chimichangos, and goes paw-to-paw with wooly-bully. There's no doubt Skippyjon will have you chuckling away as you follow him through the most disorganized school day ever!
The storyline is brand new, but your kids will welcome the familiarity of structure and rhymes used throughout the Skippyjon stories. Even though much of the imaginative language involves translation through the addition of "-ito" to the end of words, Schachner also throws in a handful of actual Spanish vocabulary. I always love involving my Spanish speaking students as we read, drawing on their knowledge of the language. Their faces light up as they recognize words from their native language and swell with pride as you ask them to explain what they mean. I find this particularly important for my entering level ESOL / ELL students.
Aside from the wonderful storytelling which transports you into the wild imagination of a kitten convinced he's a dog, there is so much more than entertainment to be found in the story. As a teacher you can use the faux Spanish and actual Spanish words to teach your students to use context clues to decipher meaning. The story is also great for fluency and decoding practice. The rhythmic writing provides a great practice ground for fluency as students read to self and read to others while the chants and made-up words throughout the story challenge students to use their reading strategies to decode the unknown words. Fun and educational!
Truth be told, I'm not really sure who gets more excited about these Skippyjon Jones books: me or my students? I think we must feed off of each other. Though it's hard for me to choose my absolute favorite Skippyjon adventure, my students definitively voted Skippyjon Jones Class Action as their new favorite. Whichever installation you love best, none have disappointed, so I for one will be waiting anxiously for my next opportunity to join my big-eared friend on his next trip into the closet!