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Alligator Boy Hardcover – June 1, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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

Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; Library Binding edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152060928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152060923
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,646,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

DIANE GOODE has illustrated 56 beloved and critically acclaimed picture books, including the New York Times best seller, FOUNDING MOTHERS and the Caldecott Honor Book, WHEN I WAS YOUNG IN THE MOUNTAINS.

From the critics:
Kirkus (*starred review): "Goode's illustrations are often breathtaking." FOUNDING MOTHERS, Cokie Roberts & Diane Goode

Publisher's Weekly: "...her ink lines are the very definition of verve, her sense of comic detailing is faultless." BUT I WANTED A BABY BROTHER, Kate Feiffer & Diane Goode

Betsy Bird: "Alligator Boy" is small and quiet and supremely sublime." Cynthia Rylant & Diane goode

The New York Times: "Diane Goode's pen-and-ink drawings spin out like ragtime, each squiggle denoting a rustle of silk or a whoop or whisper." THANKSGIVING IS HERE!, Diane Goode

Kirkus (* starred review) :"Goode has transformed this 19th-century etiquette primer into a degustatory romp... Look carefully at every spread so as not to miss a crumb of this delicious humor." MIND YOUR MANNERS, Diane Goode

Booklist: "Exquisitely drawn yet always centered on its two pint-size heroines, the book shows off the sophistication of Paris and juxtaposes it with the broad comedy of pratfalls and flying pastry. The result is as delectable as the pink birthday cake." MAMA'S PERFECT PRESENT, Diane Goode

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When a young boy tires (for some unexplained reason) of being a young boy, his dfar-off aunt sends him the head and "very long tail" of an alligator costume. It should be explained that the story apparently takes place in a simpler era than ours today--and that's not just because of the old-fashioned clothes and two=piece telephone. This is a time when a costume has the fantasy-power to change one's identity, something less likely in today's whiz-bang supermarket of video games and expensive latex costumes.

Cunthia Rylant (as well as illustrator Diane Goode)uses this slower paced, more innocent time to her advantage. When our hero tells his dad his new reptilian identity, the latter is sitting calmly, reading a newspaper (of all things!), with time enough to reassure that he still likes his new alligator/son, "no longer a boy."

Mom is a little nore distraught: "She asked a good doctor to come and to see/this boy who could not a boy now be." (Yeah, I must agree with E.R. Bird--that isn't a very good line.) A vet--make that a vet who makes house calls(!!)-- is summoned to the house. Nonplussed, he proclaims the alligator well, and, in the take-two-aspirin-and call-me-in-the-morning school of medicine, merely advises: "Just feed it each day and teach it to spell." The alligator-boy succeeds in school: scaring a bully, singing well with that long snout of his, scaring the dog cather (these are all on successive two-page vignettes), and, in one somewhat strange interlude, smiling at a (stuffed) alligator at a Natural History museum.

I like that Rylant didn't feel she had to return the boy to his human look; I can just imagine some sentimental glop about his family or friends wanting the real boy back. Nope, this extra-evolutionary adaptation works out just fine.
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Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book. I read it to my 4-year-old last night for the first time, and he loves the story. He asked to read it again first thing the next morning. Beautifully illustrated too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this because my son (4 years old) wants to be an alligator when he grows up. It's cute and an enjoyable read.
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