I was so excited when I walked through the doors a few weeks ago and found...
To my surprise, several of my teaching friends have never heard of the Skippyjon Jones series, written by Judy Schachner. (I have had some of these books in paper back for a few years, but absolutely couldn't resist picking them up in hard cover with stuffed animals to match!) The main character in the series is Skippyjon Jones, a mischievous Siamese cat who longs to be a Chihuahua. In the first book of the series he travels far, far away to old Mexico where he runs into Los Chimichangos, a pack of Chihuahuas. He spends his days in old Mexico telling everyone he meets that he is El Skippito, the great sword fighter. Los Chimichangos ask El Skippito to help them defeat El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito, who stole all of the beans for their burritos. An epic battle ensues and alas El Skippito and Los Chimichangos are victorious. A fiesta is held and everyone is happy!
You'll have to pick up the other books to find out what happens in those. No spoilers here.
I love these books for many reasons. This is a great series for teaching students to use their imaginations when they write! Skippyjon Jones doesn't really travel to old Mexico, but he does so in his imagination. And do you know where old Mexico is located? Inside his closet at the house owned by his mother, Mama Junebug Jones. And the Bumblebeeto Bandito that he so effortlessly defeated? Well, that was supposed to be his birthday piñata. His mother warned him to stay out of his closet, but that didn't stop him from exploring.
Another reason I LOVE using this series in my classroom is because of all the Spanish words the author uses. The books are a great way to introduce a unit on Mexico to your class. Will you be teaching them Spanish in the near future? Pick up one (or all!) of these books today. It is
Head on over to El Skippito's website for downloads, videos, games and a link to download the new Skippyjon Jones app. The teacher's section is overflowing with resources and lesson plans you can implement in your classroom right away. I already know I'll be downloading the Lost in Spice Readers Theater script to use with my 2nd graders this year!
If you feel ridiculous for reading this book with a Spanish accent and catch yourself saying "Holy Guacamole!" from time to time, remember this quote by Dr. Suess, "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."
What are some must have books in your classroom library? Tell me! I have well over 1,000 books in my classroom and I'm always looking to add more!
ABCs & 123s,