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Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever! (Probably): Julie Falatko & Tim Miller

Book: Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever! (Probably)
Author: Julie Falatko
Illustrator: Tim Miller
Pages: 32
Age Range: 5-8

SnappsyAndFriendSnappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever! (Probably), written by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Tim Miller, is the sequel to Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book). This installment is narrated by a Bert, a chicken who has declared himself to be Snappsy's best friend. Snappsy, who clearly values his alone time, looks askance at Bert. The dialog and illustrations reveal the disconnect between what Bert wants to be true and what actually is true. Like this:

"(Narrator:) We met at a party. And now we do everything together. 

(Dialog bubble from Snappsy:) Actually I'm going into town. To run errands. By myself!"

When Bert plans a "Best Friends Sleepover", Snappsy says: "I prefer quiet evenings. Alone." 

Bert persists through a shopping expedition, party planning, and best friend t-shirts, despite Snappsy's attempts at polite deterrence. Eventually, he drives Snappsy to lash out and kick Bert out of the house: ("All the other guests went home WEEKS AGO. And you're still here.")

But when Snappsy gets his quiet alone time back, he discovers that life without Bert is a bit TOO quiet. 

Personally, I found the ending of this book unrealistic. I would have been THRILLED to get rid of Bert, and doubt that I would have missed him at all. But, you know, it's a children's book, and it is quite entertaining throughout. My daughter found the very end of the book confusing - I had to go in and explain it to her. I think that the disconnect between what Bert has to say as the narrator and what is actually happening requires a bit of a leap in understanding. I think that Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever! (Probably) is more suited to elementary than preschool readers, though the vocabulary is not particularly advanced. 

Tim Miller's brush and ink and "computer hocus-pocus" illustrations are in graphic novel format, with colorful panels and lots of text bubbles (with occasional narrator-generated text shown above the panels). This format would make the book work well as an early reader, though kids might need some explanation of the concept of the unreliable narrator. I love how grouchy and/or baffled Snappsy looks for most of the book, and the visual fun of the chaos wrought by Bert. 

Fans of the first book about Snappsy will certainly want to snap this one up (sorry!). It would make a good introduction to the concept of friends having different needs regarding alone time. As an introvert, I especially related to Snappsy, myself, but I think that many kids will love Bert. Recommended, and an especially good fit for elementary school classroom libraries. 

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (@PenguinKids) 
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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