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Saturday, September 5, 2015

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON'T! Written and illustrated by Elise Parsley. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2015. $19.00 ages 4 and up

"Then during art,
an airplane will fly
across the room.
This is because the
alligator will be
showing you origami.

Your teacher will draw
a check beside your name.


You may, or may not, know much about alligators. You likely have no idea the kind of trouble one might create when taken to school as a show-and-tell visitor. You are in for a big surprise when you read this very funny, and surprisingly endearing, picture book.

First thing you should know is that alligators are trouble, with a capital T! It's quite startling the things they do when they attend school. In fact, much of what they do is definitely unwelcome in any school classroom. Paper airplanes are not to be flown. Funny pictures are not to be drawn, as they distract students from what they are supposed to be learning. Certainly, classmates are not to be eaten!

Poor Magnolia. She thinks that her show-and-tell will be so much more entertaining and less boring than sticks, stones, and nests. She is pretty proud of herself, until things begin going sideways. She knows her teacher does not want an alligator at school. Her teacher makes that perfectly clear; Magnolia is reassuring.

"You'll tell her that it's okay and that
you know all about alligators.
This alligator will be quiet and good,
and he won't eat anyone -
cross your heart."

With each new problem, Magnolia must deal with the consequences. First, her name goes on the board, then a new check behind her name for every bit of misbehaviour on the part of her companion. Soon, there are three checks AND an underline! Pretty soon, Magnolia is wishing she had followed her teacher's instructions for appropriate items to be brought to show her fellow students.

Magnolia has a bit of her own advice - wait your turn, then dazzle them with information! She does just that.

"Your teacher will be impressed.
You might not even have to go
to the principal's office
for all the mischief that day."

You need to have this book ... and share, share, share it!


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