Skippyjon Jones, or how big ears can provide a big imagination

Skippyjon Jones

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner

Recently I decided that my three-and-a-half-year-old son was old enough to start reading the Skippyjon Jones books, by Judy Schachner.

I suggest you start with the first of the series, “Skippyjon Jones” and then move on to the others in no particular order, “Skyppyjon Jones and the big bones”, “Skippyjon Jones, lost in spice”, “Skippyjon Jones in mummy trouble”, “Skippyjon Jones in the doghouse”, etc. If you can, get the books with the audio version on CD read by the author herself. She’s not only a great writer, but also a wonderful story teller! Her voice instantly brings all characters to life and you can’t help yourself from following along and clapping on cue.

As you’ll soon find out, Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese cat with large ears and an even larger imagination, or possibly a personality disorder… When you share these stories with your kids, you’ll hear them say every day, “My ears are to beeg for my head. My head is too beeg for my body. I am not a Siamese cat, I am a Chihuahua!”. Eventually your kids will come up with similar sayings on their own, out of their own imagination, so enjoy listening in and seeing what they come up with!

I love how Skippyjon Jones creates his own adventures in his bedroom closet, even though those usually end up abruptly, with a sudden return to reality. Reading the Skippyjon Jones books is a great way to remember what it was like to be that age and invent your own stories. Now, I get to enjoy seeing my children be encouraged to do the same.

Obviously, I never saw as a child how much imagination my little brain contained, so it’s a wonderful experience to see creativity in action with my own children. Too quickly, society will ask them to conform to “the norm”, so I believe it is my responsibility as a parent to preserve and encourage their free play and flow of imagination. And what better way to reconnect with my own inner child that to take part in their adventures?

Freebie: Skippyjon Jones has its own website, with games and short clips!

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8 responses to “Skippyjon Jones, or how big ears can provide a big imagination

  1. OK, I borrowed 3 skippyjon at the library and yes, my son LOVES it. Me, on the other hand, well, I do my best with all the spanish but, gosh, these stories are hard to read and sing.

    When my son was younger, we liked the stories of Mr Putter and of course, little critter. Well, there are many more.

    • Yes, the stories are hard to read, but I think that’s what makes it even more fun! And I love that the author makes up her own words by mixing English and Spanish. E.g. “Where the heckito am I?” That’s priceless and the kids get a kick out of it!

  2. Oh my goodness. I just think these books are TERRIBLE in regards to the reading and comprehension aspects. I bought three of these books for my Kindergartener daughter from the Scholastic Books leaflet that was sent home by her school, and they were all a TERRIBLE read. My daughter is pretty darn intuitive but was confused by what was going on in the story based on the lingo and the way the story was written. She did love the idea of me reading with an accent and LOVED the pictures. I’ve heard some people mention that the stories seem racist. I never thought that to be the case based on the three books the I bought but DID think that the ‘-ito!!!’ added to the end of EVERY WORD made it terribly difficult for even intelligent children to follow the story and for fluid readers to READ the story, which was unfortunate. On just ONE page of the first SkippyJon Jones book you can find the words ‘maskito,’ ‘Poquito Tito,’ ‘incognito’, Pintolito’ Skippito.’ The tough ‘readability’ is such a shame because the illustrations and story concept are both great!! How was this ever accepted by publishers, as it is so hard to follow?!? I LOVE to read and really encourage my children to do so and have honestly never read a set of children’s books that are so hard for a child to follow! I’m truly baffled!

  3. I have to admit I was a little puzzled the first time I read the books to my kids. They’re definitely NOT for the kids to read on their own and are even hard for adults to read. My best advice is to get the version with the story on CD read by the author herself. She’s wonderful at reading her books and you can learn from her if you want to read the books to your kids yourself. They’re really fun books about quite a mischievous little one.

  4. skippyjon jones is racist towards mexicans. i am ashamed i read it to my kids…. judy should be ashamed for writing it

    • I don’t see them as racist at all. It looks like Schachner had a lot of fun playing with words, both in English and Spanish, and making up new words (just like Dr Seuss did ALL the time). I don’t see any racial negativity simply because Skippy speaks Spanish because he thinks he’s a Chihahua. Then we could also say she makes fun of kids with big ears and big heads.

      • The difference is that Suess’ made-up words did not play off of racial stereotypes.

        The frustrating thing about these books is that there is no real reason why the author necessarily HAS to play up pseudo-spanish gibberish and negative stereotypes. Since the storylines are taking place in the main character’s imagination, she could have easily set it anywhere, and had any sort of fake language she wanted. Instead, she created a series of books that make Speedy Gonzalez look culturally sensitive.

        I read “Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones” to my daughter one time, and immediately decided she would never read another if I had any say. I turned to my wife and said, ” So, that was incredibly racist, right?” and she immediately agreed. To even think that you would attempt to defend it is unconscionable, as it is indefensible.

      • I don’t think there’s reason to pull the racist card on this one. If Judy’s last name was Mendez, nobody would have a problem with the books. Racism means you put one race above the others, and this doesn’t happen in the Skippyjon Jones books at all. Just a young cat with a wild imagination who wishes he was a Chihuahua, with lots of lively language and play on words. I’m French and in Skippijon Jones Goes To School, there are several instances of French “accents”/words. That didn’t offend me and I actually found it very funny. After all, these are children’s books, nothing more. And there are plenty of children’s books out there to satisfy everyone’s different tastes.

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