Saturday, 23 January 2010

Gator by Randy Cecil

4th January 2010, Walker Books
40 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

Picture Book

Clouds: 3
Pencils: 5
Smiles: 3
Yunaleska's recommended rating:♥♥♥♥

Summary from Walker Books

A lonely merry-go-round alligator sets off on a courageous journey, and becomes a hero along the way.

When the crowds stop coming to the fairground, Gator decides to leave his home on the merry-go-round and sets off on an exciting journey…

Looking at the front cover, I thought the gator looked like he was on a mission. Turns out he was.

The muted hues of the illustrations, and what could be a crayon type artwork (I'm no artist) suits the mood of this story. Gator's joy of when the fairground is popular is clear from the multicoloured outfits of the people. The bright colours demonstrate how lively the place is. But when the people and their outfits are gone, all that remains is the brown background as Gator slept. His misery of being without happy children riding him is clear as he sits gloomily, thinking what he could do to be happy.

He travels about the land, but it isn't as he imagined it. Other Creatures aren't as friendly as he hoped they would be. And as for his fellow gators - well, again he is disappointed with the result. However, he manages to attract people to follow him to the fairground. Life returns to normal. Apart from his companion, Duck, who has learnt something new about herself thanks to Gator. I wonder if the children notice the difference as they ride Duck's back.

For myself, Gator teaches that the image we hold of life often doesn't match up with reality. Sometimes it is better, but sometimes it is worse. I think in subtle way Gator shows children that disappointment may happen, but there is always hope, fun and enjoyment around the corner.

Check out Lucy Goes to Market by Imogen Clare and Sanchia Oppenheimer.

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