Monday, October 18, 2010

Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden By Kathy Miller

As I was driving home this afternoon, I realized that the invention of the cell phone would have meant the end of Superman's secret identity. Where would Clark Kent suit up now that cell phones have ended the need for phone booths? Gas station bathrooms? Department store dressing rooms? And while I'm on the topic of well intended inventions that are well on their way to destroying the world as we have always known it, let's bring up Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden.

You think I'm coming down on Chippy's story a bit too hard? You may be right. I mean, after all, it was a delightful little ditty about an adorable chipmunk that I'd like to carry around in my front pocket and feed peanuts in exchange for his love. But it did break one of those rules of fiction that I've been fed my entire life. Fiction isn't supposed to be illustrated by photographs. Okay, so it's a guideline more than a rule. Okay, so Chippy isn't the first fiction character to cross the uncrossable threshold into the world of Kodak, but...oh, who am I kidding? Look at the title!

Here's the problem with the world. By all accounts, I can't like this book. It's too adorable to be respectable. Chipmunks are innately cute. They're probably not-so-distant relatives of babies, bunnies, and teddy bears. However, luckily enough for me, I have no self-respect when it comes to my reading habits. I like the book. I like it because it's cute...and a little different. I like the idea. I can just picture where the thinking came from for this book. Someone observes a chipmunk and starts putting words in the adorable little rodent's mouth. She whips out the camera, goes a little chipmunk crazy, and next thing you know there's a book in the works.

It's not going to get her a comparison to Ernest Hemingway or John Steinbeck, but I don't think that's what she's after. I say, all hail Chippy! Why not? It does the job that so few other books are willing to, provide some mindlessly fun entertainment that's too adorable to hate.

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