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*Alligator Boy* by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Diane Goode
Also by Cynthia Rylant:

Brownie and Pearl Step Out

Brownie and Pearl Get Dolled Up
Brownie and Pearl See the Sights
Brownie and Pearl Hit the Hay
Brownie and Pearl Take a Dip
Thimbleberry Stories
Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn
Ludie's Life

Also by Diane Goode:

Louise the Big Cheese: Divine Diva
The Most Perfect Spot
Alligator Boy
by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Diane Goode
Grades K-2 32 pages Harcourt June 2007 Hardcover rated 3 1/2 stars of 5   

Alligator Boy will appeal to children who are struggling with their identity and are confused about how others might accept their active imaginations. It also appeals to those who enjoy a light-hearted tale and families who are looking forward to the first day of school.

The book opens with two pages in full purple color – the color of peace, royalty and tranquility. The lead character is a young boy, bored in life and questioning his identity. He young boy is inspired by a display he sees during a tour of a museum with his mother and decides he would like to be an alligator instead of a boy. His aunt, who lives far away, thinks his idea is a wonderful one to follow up on and sends him a package in the mail. Upon opening it, the boy is overjoyed – it's an alligator costume.

He tries it on and runs over to tell his father that he is now an alligator and wants to be treated as such. His father carefully considers the request then nods his approval. Mother, however, is frightfully distressed. Worried that her son is ill or has a fever, she sends for their doctor. But the doctor reassures her, saying that the boy is just fine and to let him grow out of the phase.

The boy goes to his first day of school in his costume and has a wonderful day. He scares the school bully and finds that he loves learning. The story comes full circle with the entire class going to see the museum that the boy and his mother visited at the story's beginning.

Published by Harcourt Books, this book was printed in Singapore on chlorine-free paper, which may please environmentalists. Alligator Boy comes in hardcover format with cloth binding and an image of a goofy alligator engraved on the front. A glossy slipcover that has a more detailed image of the mother and the lead character in an alligator costume protects the book. This is an unusually wide children’s book with dimension measurements of 28.2 x 21.8 x 0.5 cm, yet it has the standard children’s book length of 32 pages. The simple illustrations are created in line on paper with watercolor and gouache techniques.

It is interesting that author and illustrator for this book, Cynthia Rylant and Diane Goode, have worked together on a variety of other book projects and have been writing and illustrating for more than 20 years. Their first collaborated project, When I Was Young in the Mountains, was honored as a Caldecott Honor Book and an ALA Notable Children’s Book. The team have done a good job of putting together a simple yet entertaining book.

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  Lillian Brummet/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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