Most helpful positive review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I LOVE THIS BOOK...IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES TO READ TO A GROUP.
on June 5, 2010
"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.