Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of Crankee Doodle

Crankee Doodle
by Tom Angleberger; 
illus. by Cece Bell
Primary    Clarion    32 pp.
6/13    978-0-547-81854-2    $16.99    g

As concepts for picture books go, it’s hard to think of one cleverer than this absurdist deconstruction of the familiar song. Depicted in spindly lined cartoons, Yankee Doodle and his pony debate their plans for the afternoon. When Yankee D. complains of boredom, his pony cheerfully suggests they go to town — do some shopping, buy a feather for his hat — but each idea is met with garrulous disdain. “Shopping? I hate shopping. I have too much stuff already. It’s all junk. They don’t make stuff like they used to…” And why on earth would Y. D. call his hat “macaroni,” even though, as the pony points out, the word can also mean “fancy,” when “lasagna” is so much fancier? (“Lasagna has all those little ripples in it…”) Readers will cheerfully hum their way through the giddily imagined argument and resolution, after which an author’s note outlines the possible origins and meanings of America’s goofiest ditty.

From the May/June 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Christine M. Heppermann About Christine M. Heppermann

Christine Heppermann is the author of Ask Me How I Got Here, Poisoned Apples, and the Backyard Witch series, co-authored with Ron Koertge (all Greenwillow) and of Backyard Chickens (Houghton).

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind