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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Let me tell you about Monsieur Gator.
Monsieur Gator, he lives down in the bayou, oh yes he do.
He lives on the edge of the swamp, uh-huh.
He has big claws, big teeth, and a big appetite, for sure.
But Monsieur Gator, he has a big problem too.

You see, Monsieur Gator, he is getting old.
He is growing gray.
He is moving so-s-o

Hoo, I tell you that gator moves slower than saw grass grows.
He moves slower than a snail with sore feet.
He moves so slow he cannot catch himself a taste of possum, or a
bit of otter, or a whiff of stripe-tailed skunk.

And - oh ho! - them critters sure know it!"

So starts this wonderful tale; a retelling of the tale of The Little Red Hen when all is said and done. This little story is set along the banks of a Louisiana Bayou and is filled with the most interesting characters.

All the swamp critters know that Monsieur Gator is getting old and cannot catch them any more and they take full advantage of this and spend their day teasing and tormenting the old gator. I must say that they are obnoxious little critters and as the story unfolds you become quite sorry for the old gator and quite putout at the obnoxious little beasties.

The old gator is crafty though. I suspect he has read the adventures of The Little Red Hen and he uses the same ploy that our little feathered friend used, slowly building his pot of gumbo and asking at each phase for help; help that is solidly refused by his lazy little tormentors. That is okay with Old Gator though...he keeps right on working.

Now I will tell you right here that the ending of this little story comes out quite differently than the results of the hen and her bread making; oh my yes! I hate to throw in a spoiler here so I will just say that in the end, Monsieur Gator is well fed and he no longer has a band of twerps making his life miserable.

This is a well written and beautifully illustrated book. It is great fun to read this to a group of little ones and it is especially fun if you can come up with just a bit of a Cajun accent. The kids get quite a kick out of it.

Let me address a couple of the objections voiced concerning this work. First, it seems that at least one reviewer did not like the book because, strictly speaking, it did not follow the absolute correct recipe for making gumbo. That is absolutely correct - it did not. On the other hand, I have read this work to at least fifty or more children over the years and I can assure you that not one of them picked up on this fact. To trash a book due to this seems to me a bit petty. Secondly, some reviewers felt that there were too many new word introduced in this story; too many for the wee crowd. This may be true, but on the other hand, I felt this is one of the strengths of the book...i.e., the introduction of new words. I have never in my rather lengthy life met or seen a kid hurt by learning new words, no matter what their age. Thirdly, it would seem that the rather violent end...i.e. the little critters got ate by the old gator that was tormenting him, is somehow politically incorrect. Good grief folks, in the wild you have predators and you have prey. That is just a fact of life. This is in many ways a cautionary tale and I see no problems in teaching a child how nature (and life I might add) actually works. I have seen quite a number of gators in my lifetime and have yet to find one that was a vegetarian.

Of course this is all quite subjective and in the end, it is the parent or teacher who must make the judgment call as to whether or not their child will respond well to this work...that is what parents and teachers do.

All in all, this is a great read; one of my favorite. I have read it to many children and I always receive calls for rereading.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2005
Both my 3 year old son and my 7 year old cousin love this book so it covers a lot of age ground. You don't have to be good at accents to read this book because the wounderful choice of words turn any readers voice into "bayou speak". I've gotten several copies to give as gifts and in all a couple of pages have blurred type (obviously not intentional) so that is my only reservation in recommending it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2006
This Cajun-style version of the little red hen has a real twist at the end of the story. There are wonderful rhythms and repeats that invite listeners to chant along with the story. Kids who are used to "happy, clappy" endings were open-mouth when has some of the characters come to a very bad end! I love cautionary tales!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2006
Very nice book, very fun, great characters, nice graphics and a high learning curve and this is better than Disneyland.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2004
This is a delightful Creole version of the Little Red Hen. Possum, Skunk, and Otter all pick on old gator. Gator, sick of eating vegetables, comes up with a plan to make some good old fashioned gumbo. The ending, which will be obvious to most adults, will delight and surprise younger children. The mixed medium illustrations accompany this charming story.
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on June 16, 2009
The language used (presumably authentic for the region) is very rich and it really sets the tone for the whole book.

This is a version of the Little Red Hen where the not-helping animals are really rude instead of just lazy - and they get what they deserve when, after begging for Just One Taste, they fall right in the pot!

A few notes that struck me as odd, though many kids would probably not notice. First, the animals go into the pot without being skinned or even taking off their clothes. Uh, ew? And second, they fall in of their own accord - the gator doesn't help them in any way, they're just that greedy. That's a little weird to me. I understand why it was done, but I would've expected some sign that the alligator pushed them or something. *shrugs*

Really funny book, nice set-up to a great ending, though.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 13, 2013
Gator gets very hot under the collar after Madame Skunk, Monsieur Otter & Madame Possum keeps teasing him. He decides to cook up a big pot of Gumbo "just like Maman used to make." Of course the other critters, just like the Little Red Hen, have no intentions of helping him make the Gumbo so Gator does it all himself.

Each time he adds another ingredient the critters are drawn a little closer to the pot until at last Gator declares it ready to eat & takes a spoonful to taste. The critters beg him for just a taste & promise they will never tease him again. Really? They get their greedy wish & fall headlong into the pot after which you see Gator with a big fat tummy having enjoyed his delicious Gumbo :)
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on October 26, 2015
What a fantastic book! For one who left Louisiana long ago, this is the perfect kind of fun to bring back that bit of personal history. I love reading this to my kids even more than they love to hear it. The language is made to put on your best Cajun accent and have as much fun as possible

Gator is aging and he doesn't have the physical skills to kill his prey like he used to. His vegetarian diet only adds to his humiliation. The one day, the taunting of those lesser animals he used to hunt gets to be too much. Without the physical skills he once had, Gator must resort to his cunning to outwit his tormentors.

Will Gator be successful? You'll have to read the book to find out.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2006
This french speaking gator is old and cannot catch his meals any longer. He is teased by the other "critters". He decides to trick them by offering them a taster of the gumbo he finally makes. They fall in and the gator finally gets his stew. Very similiar to the Little Red Hen story only it has a HOT twist.

The only problem is that the language is difficult for some early readers.
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on April 15, 2012
For any parents or grandparents that have ever been teased by the younger set about growing old, this is a terrific bedtime story to read even to teenagers and twenty-somethings, or better yet, make a nice hot pot of gumbo and read it for 'dessert!Gator Gumbo: A Spicy-Hot Tale
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