Not MY Job! Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask To Be in This Book!) by Julia Falatko
SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR WASN'T FEELING LIKE HIMSELF.
HIS SKIN FELT BAGGY. HIS TAIL DIDN'T SWITCH THIS WAY AND THAT.
AND WORST OF ALL, HIS BIG JAW DIDN'T SNAP.
Snappsy heads out to do some routine shopping at the local grocery store. But the unseen hand of the Rude Narrator has other ideas.
Snappsy the big mean alligator looked for food. He liked to eat tiny defenseless birds and soft fuzzy bunnies!"
Hey! Snappsy protests the Narrator's story line.
"IT'S JUST A STORE! A GROCERY STORE! IT'S WHERE I BUY FOOD!"
So the rude narrator alters the story line to fit the setting.
"He loads his cart with pudding, peanut butter, pita bread, and popcorn.
(Snappsy the Alligator was particularly fond of certain letters in the alphabet.")
Snappy protests that the Narrator is way out of line and is clearly in cahoots with the illustrator, who persists in portraying inaccuracies. But the Narrator perseveres in his plot. He describes how Snappsy heads home to his splintery shack and throws himself into party preparations, aimed at improving his reputation. Snappsy objects to this whole story line.
"YOU KNOW WHAT? I DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK!"
But in Julia Falatko's new Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) (Viking Books, 2016), poor Snappsy discovers that in the popular genre of meta-fiction, the poor protagonist has little recourse but to accept his fate, and in this case Snappsy finally casts his fate to the winds and enjoys playing the host with the most as best he can. Falatko's witty back-and-forth banter between the meta-narrator and his hapless hero is a lot of fun for young readers, who may like having a look through that fourth wall to see how fiction gets done. Artist Tim Miller's comic drawings of quirky critters gives this one plenty of visual humor for the savvy consumer of picture books. "More than merely meta, Snappsy is clearly a book, if not a protagonist, with bite," puns Kirkus.
And if kids ask for more, pair this one with Mo Willem's masterful meta-movie spoof, That Is Not a Good Idea! (see review here).