Angleberger (the Origami Yoda books)—in his first picture book and his first collaboration with his wife, Bell—delivers some hilarious Americana-flavored trivia through the characters in the traditional yet lyrically puzzling song, “Yankee Doodle.” When a colonial-era Yankee announces that he’s bored, his pony suggests the pair could go to town. “Town?” replies the man. “No way. I hate going to town. There are too many people in town.” For each subsequent nudge from the pony (“You could buy a feather for your hat!”), the Yankee has a long-winded and highly opinionated rant against the idea (“A feather? For my hat? I’d look like a fool”). By book’s end, both characters have had meltdowns, prompting a Yankee change of heart and a comically anachronistic trip to town that will have readers laughing. Bell’s (Bug Patrol) gouache artwork features crisp lines and swaths of bold color; abundant humorous touches—from a “Ye Olde Shoe Shack!” storefront to the pony’s ultra-goofy set of teeth—keep pace with Angleberger’s crackling lines. Ages 4–8. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
A BookPage Best Children's Book of 2013
"He does not want to go to town, buy a hat or wear a feather. But his horse is quite persuasive."
—People magazine, Best New Kids' Books
"Best-seller Angleberger of Origami Yoda fame takes on picture books, treating a younger audience to his dry and zany wit. . . . A historical hoot full of goofy, eye-rolling goodness."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"As concepts for picture books go, it's hard to think of one cleverer than this absurdist deconstruction of the familiar song. . . . Readers will cheerfully hum their way through the giddily imagined argument and resolution."
—Horn Book, starred review
"By book's end, both characters have had meltdowns, prompting a Yankee change of heart and a comically anachronistic trip to town that will have readers laughing."
"In this laugh-out-loud reworking of 'Yankee Doodle,'. . . [Angelberger], author of the Origami Yoda series puts a witty, accessible spin on the familiar song, while Bell's bright, bold gouache images extend the zany humor."
"Crankee's grouchy diatribes and his pony's affable responses make for a great read-aloud, especially when paired with a sing-along of the classic tune."
—School Library Journal
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Tom Angleberger, author of the bestselling “Origami Yoda” series, teams up with acclaimed illustrator Cece Bell to give history a lively spin in this hilarious send-up of the pre-Revolutionary War song “Yankee Doodle Went to Town.” Dapper Crankee is a whiner. He is bored, but he resists every remedy suggested by his cheerful pony--go to town, buy a feather for his hat and call it macaroni--with escalating crankiness that culminates in a jump-up-and-down temper tantrum. What a catharsis for kids caught in the throes of an irritating day! Youngsters will get a kick out of seeing their own whininess writ large, and they will enjoy the pony’s digressive, exclamatory author’s note at the end. This is a book that’s even funnier when read aloud with over-the-top whiny inflection. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum AGERANGE: Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Using details from the nonsensical song "Yankee Doodle," this goofy picture book focuses on a conversation between the famous gentleman and his pony, who is trying to cajole his bored owner into taking a trip to town. Crankee Doodle is having none of it, grousing about town being too noisy and chaotic, with people ringing bells, eating pies, and running around. With each additional suggestion from the pony ("You could buy a feather for your hat!" and "You could call it macaroni."), Crankee gets more and more indignant and his arguments sillier. His refutation that the word "macaroni" shouldn't mean "fancy" because lasagna noodles are really fancy is laugh-out-loud funny. Crankee relents in the end, but rather than go to town astride his pony, he rides in style in the backseat of a car, driven by his hooved pet. The cartoon illustrations are big and bold and as comical as the text. Crankee's grouchy diatribes and his pony's affable responses make for a great read-aloud, especially when paired with a sing-along of the classic tune.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
Sure he went to town...but did he want to go to town? Crankee Doodle is bored. His pony suggests going to town, but Crankee says he hates going to town. "There are too many people in town. They all run around in a hurry and ring bells and eat pies, and then they yell at each other to stop running around, ringing bells, and eating pies." Pony suggests shopping. Crankee hates shopping; he has enough stuff. Pony suggests a feather for Crankee's hat. That doesn't go over well either. Pony says Crankee could call it macaroni (that means fancy). Crankee thinks lasagna is much more fancy, but he doesn't want to call his hat macaroni or lasagna or go to town or shop. Pony offers Crankee a ride, but Crankee thinks Pony smells. Poor Pony! Will Crankee apologize? Will they get to town? Will readers ever view "Yankee Doodle" the same way again? Best-seller Angleberger of Origami Yoda fame takes on picture books, treating a younger audience to his dry and zany wit. Readers and storytime audiences will guffaw at his twist on the traditional song. Bell's gauche, heavy-outlined illustrations are comic-book panels, some spreading over two pages as Crankee Doodle and Pony converse in speech bubbles (and Crankee's jeremiads fill the page). A historical hoot full of goofy, eye-rolling goodness. (Picture book. 4-9)