As the title makes clear, Snappsy, a skinny alligator who wears a pink tie, is not a happy camper. He is being trailed by an unseen narrator who alternates between drumming up drama (at one point accusing Snappsy of liking to “eat tiny, defenseless birds and soft, fuzzy bunnies,” even when it’s clear that mild-mannered Snappsy shops at the supermarket like everyone else) and falling down on the job. “You’re just describing what you see in the illustrations,” points out Snappsy. So who is this narrator, and what does she/he/it want? Meta-stories often have sour undertones—the joke is ultimately on somebody—but not this one. Snappsy is both highly civilized (he dons a fez while reading) and nobody’s fool, and the motivation of the narrator, when finally revealed, is almost touching. This is the first book for both Falatko and Miller, and it’s an excellent one—Falakto’s writing nimbly zigs and zags around Miller’s bold, goofy cartoons. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Danielle Smith, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Feb.)
PRAISE FOR SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR (DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK):
"A charming, irreverent tale for independent-minded tots."
"This is the first book for both Falatko and Miller, and it’s an excellent one—Falatko’s writing nimbly zigs and zags around Miller’s bold, goofy cartoons."
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW!
"More than merely meta, Snappsy is clearly a book, if not a protagonist, with bite."
—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW!
"Falatko’s debut picture book is atruly laugh-out-loud, mischievous romp, made gleefully goofier by Miller’s straight-laced, deadpan animalcharacters."
—Booklist, STARRED REVIEW!
"Filled with exploration-worthy detail… overdocumented youngsters may feel some sympathy for Snappsy, and audiences...will giggle at his battle with the overexcited narrator."
—BCCB, STARRED REVIEW!
"This clever debut will renew faith in the possibilities of fourth-wall breaking.”
—The New York Times
"A silly, clever introduction to the idea of the unreliable narrator.”
—The Boston Globe
"One of the funniest picture books of the year. . . . utterly irresistible."
"Falatko’s debut book demonstrates the power of storytelling through words and pictures."
—School Library Journal
"Distinguished by Falatko’s ability to sustain the tension at length; by Miller’s savory palette... and by the unvoiced suggestion that when fiction is working well, a character can take on a life of his or her own."
—Horn Book Magazine
"This one goes to the top of the meta-heap. Snappsy the Alligator is a wonderful exploration of subjectivity... and a lot of fun."
"If a pesky narrator did THAT to ME, I'D bite 'em right on the—*AHEM* Great job with your creative conflict resolution, Snappsy!"
—Ame Dyckman, New York Times bestselling author of Wolfie the Bunny and Boy + Bot
"Adam Rex didn't ask to be on this book either. But despite being a mean man who generally dislikes debut authors he is a fan of Snappsy the Alligator."
—Adam Rex, New York Times bestselling author of Schools First Day of School
"Modern storytelling that never compromises, page after hilarious page."
—Bob Shea, author of Ballet Cat
PreS-Gr 2—Snappsy the alligator finds himself in a book he doesn't want to be in. He leads a quiet, simple life, but the narrator (a chicken who likes to dance and throw parties) purposely misinterprets his every move. This is fun for readers but not for the main character. "This is terrible!" Snappsy says. "I'm just hungry! Why is this rude narrator trying to make it seem like I need a nap?" Falatko's debut book demonstrates the power of storytelling through words and pictures. The simple cartoon art is a hoot. The narrator's surprise appearance at the end helps Snappsy realize that it's good to have people in your life who push you out of your comfort zone every once in a while. VERDICT A fun read-aloud.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
Picture Rita Skeeter as a chicken for a general sense of this book's goofy take on intrusive narration and one-sided reporting. The tale of Snappsy the alligator hits a snag from the start when his trip to the grocery store is interpreted with inaccurate (according to Snappsy) and increasingly nasty commentary. While the authoritative narrator presents Snappsy as a vicious predator, readers who look at the pictures and hear Snappsy's objections to this misrepresentation will see another side to the story. "Snappsy looked hungrily at the other shoppers," intones the narrator, while the illustration reveals the alligator mildly smiling and waving as he studies a jar of peanut butter. Eventually Snappsy decides to throw a house party, more to please the narrator by making the tale sound interesting than anything else. And who just happens to come knocking at the door in a party hat? None other than the narrator, ready for the chicken dance. What sets this apart from standard-issue picture-book metafiction is its commentary on selective reporting. Unreliable narration is normally the purview of the novel, but this picture book asks elementary-age readers to question the truth of what they're being told. Illustrator Miller's style is cartoonish, showing how background characters are initially swayed by the narrator's erroneous charges and then won over by Snappsy's charisma. More than merely meta, Snappsy is clearly a book, if not a protagonist, with bite. (Picture book. 4-7)