Saturday, September 11, 2010

Animal House

Animal House. Candace Ryan. Illustrated by Nathan Hale. 2010. July 2010. Walker Books. 40 pages.

My teacher says I belong in a zoo, and she isn't far from the truth. I live in an animal house. Well, actually it's a gorvilla.

If you love crazy-strange picture books, then Animal House might be a good fit for you. It's a bit too strange, too wacky, for me. (Though I did always love There's A Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss. So you'd think I'd appreciate the imaginative spirit of this one.)

In Animal House, Mrs. Nuddles pays a home visit to one of her students. She doesn't believe some of his strange stories, his excuses. So she comes to his house, to see for herself. It's told through his point of view.
I told Mrs. Nuddles that she couldn't miss my house. It has the biggest condoor in the whole neighborhood. I asked him to be on his best behavior--I really want to go on that field trip tomorrow. I think I see Mrs. Nuddles through the windodo now.
"Hi, Mrs. Nuddles. Be careful stepping onto the floormingos. They don't like dirt getting stuck between their feathers."
As the two make their way to his kangaroom, things get a bit dangerous, a bit tricky. Will Mrs. Nuddles survive this visit?

Animal House is so extreme, so strange. Maybe it's appealing--engaging--to younger readers?! Maybe the word plays are sillier to the target audience?! I'm not sure. It didn't quite work for me. But maybe you'll like it more than I did. Have you read this one? What did you think?

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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