Celebrate 4th of July with Crankee Doodle

by Amy Kraft on July 4, 2013


I don’t think much of 4th of July books–can’t say as I’ve ever really noticed one until now. Crankee Doodle is the latest from author Tom Angleberger (of Origami Yoda and Horton Halfpott fame) and illustrator Cece Bell (of Sock Monkey fame). Are you familiar with a little tune called “Yankee Doodle”? Let’s remember it for a second.

Yankee Doodle went to town

A-riding on a pony

Stuck a feather in his hat

And called it macaroni

If you really stop and think about it, it’s totally weird, right? Even as a kid I wondered what it all meant. I think Crankee Doodle wonders, too. The whole book is a conversation between Crankee and his pony that begins when Crankee says that he’s bored. The pony helpfully suggests that they go to town. Crankee Doodle wants no part of that, though. All people in town do is run around in a hurry, ring bells, and eat pies. What about shopping? Crankee doesn’t like this idea, either. “You could buy a feather for your hat!” the pony suggests, helpfully, but Crankee thinks that everyone would laugh at him with a feather in his hat.

My favorite exchange is this one:

You could call it macaroni.

Call what macaroni?

Your hat with the feather in it.

First of all, why would I want to call my hat macaroni? I don’t want to call my hat anything! It’s just a hat! Second of all, why would putting a feather in my hat turn it into macaroni? It would still be a hat, not macaroni! Look at this hat! Does it look almost like macaroni to you? I don’t care how many feathers you put in it, it’s still just a hat. And besides, I don’t even like macaroni.

“Macaroni” is just another word for “fancy.”

photo 3

You can see how hilariously cranky Crankee Doodle is, and we get some genuine information about the song, including a short history at the end of the book. And now I know that “macaroni” means “fancy.” You can imagine how valuable this information is for me. I might be a little obessessed with the macaroni aspects of this book.

Look at the end paper!

photo 1

Look at what’s on the back cover!

photo 2

Even if you don’t personally identify with macaroni, though, you’ll still enjoy this book. You’ll never think of “Yankee Doodle” in the same way again.

I was sent a copy of the book for review purposes. 

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