Picture Rita Skeeter as a chicken for a general sense of this book’s goofy take on intrusive narration and one-sided reporting.
The tale of Snappsy the alligator hits a snag from the start when his trip to the grocery store is interpreted with inaccurate (according to Snappsy) and increasingly nasty commentary. While the authoritative narrator presents Snappsy as a vicious predator, readers who look at the pictures and hear Snappsy’s objections to this misrepresentation will see another side to the story. "Snappsy looked hungrily at the other shoppers,” intones the narrator, while the illustration reveals the alligator mildly smiling and waving as he studies a jar of peanut butter. Eventually Snappsy decides to throw a house party, more to please the narrator by making the tale sound interesting than anything else. And who just happens to come knocking at the door in a party hat? None other than the narrator, ready for the chicken dance. What sets this apart from standard-issue picture-book metafiction is its commentary on selective reporting. Unreliable narration is normally the purview of the novel, but this picture book asks elementary-age readers to question the truth of what they’re being told. Illustrator Miller’s style is cartoonish, showing how background characters are initially swayed by the narrator’s erroneous charges and then won over by Snappsy’s charisma.
More than merely meta, Snappsy is clearly a book, if not a protagonist, with bite. (Picture book. 4-7)