DJ Funkyfoot: Butler for Hire (DJ Funkyfoot #1) Tom Angleberger. Illustrated by Heather Fox. 2021. [March 2021] 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: My phone rang. “Greetings,” I said. “I am DJ Funkyfoot, and I am at YOUR service.” “Good,” said a prickly voice. “I’m Cactus Kwame of Cactus Kwame’s Roller Rink and Disco Rodeo. I need a DJ for our big Disco Rodeo Roller Boogie Contest tonight!” “Ah,” I said. “I’m afraid you have made a common mistake, sir.” “No way!” said Cactus Kwame, and he was extra prickly. “I never make a mistake.” “Yes, sir,” I replied, even though I knew he HAD made a mistake. I am a butler who serves tea, not a DJ who plays music.
Premise/plot: DJ Funkyfoot is looking for work as a butler. Unfortunately for him those are seemingly hard to come by--at least where he lives. Fortunately for us readers, however, since this leads to DJ Funkyfoot taking a job as a NANNY. (DJ Funkyfoot takes a job as a nanny for ShrubBaby or "M'Lady ShrubBaby" as she comes to be called.) There is a BIG difference between the two:
“So,” said the small shrub. “What is the very important difference between a nanny and a butler?” “Well,” I said, “a nanny’s job is to say no. A butler’s job is to say yes.”“A nanny’s job is to be wise and wonderful and to help a child grow up safe and sound. This may require the nanny to tell a child no or even ‘Absolutely not!’”“Sounds awful,” said the small shrub. “What about a butler?” “Well,” I said, “a butler’s job is to do whatever they are asked. This may require them to say, ‘Yes, ma’am’ or ‘Absolutely, sir.’” “Sounds a lot better,” said the small shrub. “Can you give me an example?”
The book chronicles their many misadventures of the day...some of which ends up on the television!
The show’s studio looked like a giant kitchen, but it was full of chickens with cameras and microphones. One enormous chicken came running over to us. “I’m Little Red Hen, the host of this show. One of our contestants just quit, and we need a new one. Who will help me? Who will be on my show?” “We will!” hollered ShrubBaby. “One moment,” I said “Would you please tell us why the other contestant quit?” “He thought it was too dangerous,” said Little Red Hen. “Now put on these hats, and let’s start baking!”“Welcome to Extreme Cake Bakers Showdown: Ultimate!” clucked Little Red Hen. “Today we have the country’s best bakers taking on our toughest challenge yet: the world’s tallest wedding cake!” Chickens started hauling out huge pans, big bags of flour, barrels of frosting, and fifty-two-foot-tall ladders. “Our contestants today are the best of the best. Jacques Raptor from Paris, Datrice the Camel from Rome, and . . . what was your name again?”“Sorry, hip-hop star, there’s no time for chitchat. You only have twenty-two minutes to bake your cake. Starting . . . NOW!” It ended badly.
My thoughts: DJ Funkyfoot was so over-the-top absurd that it was hilarious. I loved, loved, loved every moment of it. The world is entirely peopled with PLANTS and ANIMALS. (There's not a human in sight.) This one was a joy to read. I look forward to recommending it when it releases next spring.
© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers