I Yam a Donkey!

I Yam a Donkey! illus. by Cece Bell. 32p. Clarion. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544087200. ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780544087415.
Gr 1–3—The cartoon illustrations of Bell's stab at eliminating a grammatical error are more engaging than her text, and it is probable that the intended audience will not grasp the lesson she's put forward. A donkey states, "I yam a donkey!" and a yam protests the improper use of the word yam. In the ensuing conversation, the donkey repeatedly uses yam when he should be saying am and the tuber becomes increasingly perturbed. Bell's drawings, done in china marker and acrylic, are lively and convey emotion through her judicious use of line, but the grammatical issue is less common now than in Popeye's heyday, and the joke goes on so long that it becomes tiresome.
VERDICT Despite its inviting illustrations, this book misses the mark.

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