Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner - Teaching Ideas

Skippyjon Jones has the best imagination ever, but unfortunately it always seems to get him into trouble.  In this book he takes an imagination adventure to the streets of Mexico where he meets a band of Chihuahuas. These Chihuahuas call themselves Los Chimichangos and they are being terrorized by a a bad guy they call El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandidto and they want Skippito (Skippyjon's name for this adventure) and his trusty sword to save them. A little later El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito comes and Skippito is shaking in his boots, but he stands his ground and thrusts his sword and saves the day...but not really!

Your students will love discovering what El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito really is!

Listed below are 16 of the reading skills and strategies that I felt worked best with this book. Use this as a starting off point to create a fun and meaningful lesson to go with this super cute book!

In addition, I created a setting and character freebie that you can pick up in my TpT store.

Reading level: 2.4
Theme/subject: clever, imagination, bravery, creativity & imagination
Genre: adventure, humorous

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: self-respecting, flock of birds, lecture, rifled through, incognito, decreed, fiesta, siesta, frijoles, somber voice, declared, shimmied and shook, castanets, hovered, thrust, ruckus

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions – either questions you ask the kids, or ones they ask
    • Before – I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder if Skippyjon Jones is his name. I wonder what he is doing in that plant. I wonder if the bee has anything to do with the story.
    • During – I wonder why he likes sleeping with the birds. I wonder why he has to stay out of his closet. I wonder if he will stay out of his closet. I wonder if he will really think about being a Siamese cat. I wonder what he is going to do in his room all by himself. I wonder if he will really stand up to El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito.
    • After – I wonder if he will get a new piñata. I wonder what his next adventure is going to be.  
       **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – third. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this (he, they, she).
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} cats don’t talk. Cats don’t usually sleep in bird nests. The author used a lot of rhyming and made a fun song to go in the story. All of these things make a very entertaining story.
  • Beginning, middle, end – what are the most important events from each part, basically if these didn’t happen the story wouldn’t move on.
    • Beginning – Skippyjon Jones got put in his room to think about what it means to be a Siamese cat, not a bird, mouse, bat, moose or goose.
    • Middle – Skippyjon Jones did not think about being a cat, instead he took and adventure and defeated El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito.
    • End – El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito wasn’t really a bad guy it was a piñata hidden in his closet that was now broke open because Skippyjon Jones did do what his mother told him to do.
  • Cause and effect
      1. Why was Skippyjon’s mom not pleased?  Because no self-respecting cat ever slept with birds.
      2. Why did Skippyjon have to sit in his room? So he could think about what it was like to be a Siamese cat.
      3. Why did his mom tell him to stay out of the closet? Because there was a bee piñata hiding in it.
      4. Why wouldn’t his mom let him come out of his room? Because he was still thinking.
      5. Why did all of the Chimichangos go crazy loco? Because they thought Skippyjon Jones was going to take care of the bad Bumblebeeto.
      6. How come Skippito had no time to plan? Because Alfredo Buzzito flew straight for Skippito.
      7. How come all the doggies burst into song? Because Skippito had “Popped” El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito.
      8. Why did mom and all the girls come running in Skippyjon’s room? Because they heard such a loud ruckus.
      9. How come there was candy and beanbag doggies all over Skippyjon’s room? Because he broke the piñata that was hiding in his closet.
  • Character analysis - describe Skippyjon Jones {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Compare & contrast – a time you got into trouble and what you did or didn’t do while in trouble to Skippyjon’s “time-out”.
  • Connections
    • Text-to-self – getting into trouble. Having a time-out in your room. Not doing what you were supposed to while in trouble. Playing while you were supposed to be thinking.
    • Text-to-text connection – Connect to “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” by Mark Teague. Both books are about an imagination adventure.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – What special day do you think is coming up for Skippyjon Jones?
    • text clues – the book says that he had his birthday piñata on his head.
    • what I know – I know that people usually buy piñatas for birthday parties.
    • my conclusion -  I think it that Skippyjon Jones is going to have a birthday party soon because the book says that his birthday piñata was on his head.
  • Main idea & details
    • main idea – The story is mostly about a cat named Skippyjon Jones and his imaginary adventure to Mexico where he defeated the El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito.
    • Details – Skippyjon Jones plays in his room instead of “thinking about what it means to be a Siamese cat". Skippyjon meets a mysterious band of Chihuahuas and tells him he is “El Skippito, the great sword fighter”.  All the dogs cheer after Skippyjon defeats El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story is when El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito pops right above Skippyjon.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is going to be about? What do you think Skippyjon is going to do in his room? Do you think Skippyjon is going to get into trouble again? How do you think Skippyjon is going to defeat El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito? Why do you think El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito popped?
  • Sequencing
      1. Skippyjon Jones was put in his room to think about what it meant to be a Siamese cat.
      2. Skippyjon Jones put on his mask and sword and climbed onto his mouse.
      3. He walked into his closet where his imagination took him to Mexico.
      4. He met up with a band of Chihuahuas called Los Chimichangos.
      5. Skippyjon Jones gave them the right password.
      6. Skippyjon Jones fought El Blimp Bumblebeeto Bandito with his sword.
      7. The Los Chimichangos cheered!
      8. Skippyjon’s mother and is his sisters heard a loud ruckus.
      9. Skippyjon and the broken piñata fell out of his closet.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Summarize
    • Someone – Mother
    • Wanted – wanted Skippyjon to think about what it meant to be a Siamese cat
    • But – but he didn’t want to.
    • So – So he put on his mask and sword and got onto his mouse
    • Then – then he entered his closet which in his mind was Mexico. He met a band of Chihuahuas, defeated a bandito and
    • Finally – finally ended up back in his room in a pile of candy and stuffed doggies because the bandito was a piñata hiding in his closet.
  • Visualize – Skippyjon Jones visualized himself in Mexico, meeting a band of Chihuahuas and defeating a bandito when he was supposed to be thinking about what it meant to be a Siamese cat. Visualize what adventure you would go on if you had to sit and think about why you were in trouble.

 Happy reading!


  1. The Skippyjon Jones books are so much fun! Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. Hi Barbara,
      You know they really weren't my favorite until I did this post...when I had to think about the book and how to teach with it I enjoyed it a lot more.


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!