Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger


Crankee Doodle
Author: Tom Angelberger
Illustrator: Cece Bell
Published June 4th, 2013 by Clarion Books

Goodreads Summary: “Yankee Doodle went to town / a-riding on a pony / stuck a feather in his hat / and called it macaroni.” Many know the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” but few understand it. This unapologetically silly picture book reveals that the legendary ride to town (and the whole macaroni thing) was all suggested by Mr. Doodle’s overeager pony. This just makes Mr. Doodle cranky: “I do not want macaroni. I do not want a feather. I do not want any other clothing, any other pasta, or any other parts of a bird. I do not want anything that they have in town!” A historical note ends this colorful, comical take on a nonsensical old song.

My Review: Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell are a match made in heaven (good think they found each other)! This book is funny from page one and will definitely get the reader giggling.  The hilarious story line mixed with the colorful, exaggerated, silly illustrations make the reader purely engaged in the book.  This book will definitely make the reader sing “Yankee Doodle” and want to read the book again.

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: What I love about this book is that it’ll be a perfect read aloud, but it also connects to history by having a historical note in the back. Who wrote “Yankee Doodle”? No one knows, but what a great conversation started and a way to introduce Colonial America.

In the story, the word macaroni is also discussed. Macaroni used to mean fancy, but now it obviously doesn’t. What a way to begin a discussion of how words change meaning over time. There are TONS of words that have changed their meaning.  Going over this and giving would really start a great discussion and could lead to some amazing activities.

Discussion Questions: Why would the British want to make fun of Americans during Colonial America?; How did the horse persuade Doodle to go to town?; How would this story have been different if the pony was the lazy and Doodle wasn’t?

We Flagged: Pony: “Macaroni is just another word for fancy.”
Doodle: “Says you. That’s the silliest thing I ever heard. Macaroni isn’t fancy. It’s macaroni. You know what’s fancy? Lasagna. Lasagna is fancy. Lasagna has all those little ripples in it, and then it gets baked with cheese and tomatoes and vegetables. Then you eat it with some garlic bread. Now, that’s fancy!” (p. 14-15)

Read This If You Loved: Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming, Rabbit and Robot by Cece Bell, Those Rebels, John and Tom by Barbara Kerley

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