Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger
Brace yourself for a picture book that is entire silliness and proud of it! In a riff on Yankee Doodle, this story tells readers that it was all the pony’s idea. Yankee Doodle is bored and goes off on rants about how he doesn’t want to go to town or go shopping. Then the pony suggests a feather for his cap, which starts another rant. The pony finishes with a suggestion to call it macaroni. After that rant, he explains that macaroni is another word for fancy, and that Yankee Doodle may want to call it lasagna instead. In the end, the two of them head off to town, just like the pony wanted all along.
Angleberger writes with such a wry sense of humor here. The rants by Yankee Doodle are a hoot to read aloud, the text heavy with indignation and exclamation points. The sly pony seems to know just what he is doing as he lets Yankee Doodle blow off steam but gets his own way in the end. The book ends with a historical note about the real history of the song.
The illustrations are done in gouache with a thick black line and bold colors. The entire book pops visually and will work with larger groups of children thanks to its clarity and strong shapes.
This one is a winner for story times. Expect guffaws from children who know the song! Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.