From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2—Inspired by a trip to a natural history museum, a boy decides he wants to be an alligator, and his aunt obliges by sending him an alligator head and tail, which he immediately dons. His worried mother calls the vet, who assures her that "It looks well." Both parents take their son's new look in stride and send him off to school where he can at last scare off a bully. On a return visit to the museum with his class, the boy faces his stuffed idol with obvious delight. Goode's watercolor and gouache cartoon vignettes on white ground are reminiscent of the artist's other work in which she evokes a former time. Mother visits the museum wearing a hat and long dress; the teacher is in a belted suit; and the students, one in a wheelchair, wear short pants and dresses. The protagonist's alligator head reflects his mood, exhibiting gleeful laughter as the bully runs away and restful contentment as he snuggles in his mother's lap. Unfortunately, this charming story is marred by an awkward rhyme scheme: "She asked a good doctor to come and to see/this boy who could not a boy now be." Still, any youngster who has ever wanted to assume more power than childhood allows will delight in the "good green life" that alligator boy enjoys.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
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From the team who created When I Was Young in the Mountains (1982) comes a saga about a boy who dresses up as an alligator and shows, contrary to popular thought, that it is easy to be green. However, even an alligator boy must go to school. "The vet said he must, that it was the rule." At school, after he deals with the bully, "he found he enjoyed the student life fully." The book ends with a class visit back to the museum where he got the idea in the first place; "his days were a joy . . .What a good green life for an alligator boy." The rhymed text and simple, very appealing illustrations will make this a popular read-aloud. The illustrations show the setting to be late 1920s or 1930s, but the theme of being different is timeless. Although there is very little drama here, children will enjoy this low-key vision of the experiences wearing an alligator costume might bring. Enos, Randall Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved