Alligator boy

Cynthia Rylant

Book - 2007

A boy puts on an alligator head and tail and is transformed into an alligator boy.

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Location Call Number   Status
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Stories in rhyme
Picture books
Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt c2007.
Main Author
Cynthia Rylant (-)
Other Authors
Diane Goode (illustrator)
1st ed
Physical Description
unpaged : col. ill. ; 23 x 29 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

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 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

It?s not uncommon for an imaginative child who grows tired of being the same person day in and day out to take on the identity of someone-or something-else. In this whimsical tale by the team behind Christmas in the Country, a boy decides that by turning himself into an alligator, he can have more fun doing everyday things. Rhyming verse carries the reader through a rather formulaic storyline as the boy tries on an alligator costume (consisting of an oversize head and tail) and presents his new self to family and friends (" ?I hope you still like me,? the small gator said./ Dad nodded and patted the reptile?s green head"). Goode?s watercolor illustrations, which depict the Alligator Boy outfitted in his new "skin," carefully follow the storyline to the letter; a few imaginative touches, however, are included in scenes in which the boy?s human torso is obscured, making him appear to have become a complete ?gator. The boy?s life improves as he makes friends easily at school and is able to defend himself from the class bully-all while dressed as an alligator-leaving readers to assume he was previously unable to do these things. Though sweet throughout, the story?s end is somewhat unsatisfying, with the boy remaining an alligator and life proceeding as usual. Ages 3-7. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

After a boy announces his desire to be ""somebody new,"" he dons an alligator get-up and proceeds to spend his days with what he considers a wonderful new identity, although (as amused readers will note) his everyday life doesn't change. The story sputters out, but Rylant's rhymes bounce, and the art is funny and sensitive. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

In rhyming couplets, Rylant expertly unfolds a quirky tale about a boy who is "tired of being a boy" and "hope[s] to be somebody new." He gets his wish when a package with an alligator suit arrives on his doorstep. Rylant's elegant writing and understated humor are matched perfectly by Goode's watercolor illustrations. Goode's generous use of white space focuses our attention on the characters that she imbues with copious charm and personality. The witty language and engaging, dynamic pictures, as well as the warmly nostalgic atmosphere, will attract parents and children alike. What's more, its whimsy and fancy extend to the final page: The alligator boy does not have a change of heart and decide to turn back into a boy. Neither is the story revealed to have taken place in his imagination or his dreams. Instead, Rylant and Goode close the story with a picture of their main character asleep on his mother's lap, his alligator tail hanging down from the chair, and the reassuring message that his is "a good green life for an alligator boy." (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.