Books·Canadian

AAAlligator!

A picture book by Judith Henderson, illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier.

Judith Henderson, illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier

When a hungry alligator moves to their town, the residents want him out...until they get to know him (and learn what he's actually hungry for!). A timely tale about empathy, acceptance and a community's response to injustice. Though he's scared at first, a boy who encounters an alligator in the woods soon realizes that all the alligator wants is companionship — and leftovers —and the two become good friends. But the mayor of the boy's town simply won't allow it. He even makes an official proclamation, "NO ALLIGATORS! Blah, blah, blah."

The townspeople agree with the mayor. At first. But once they see how kind and helpful the alligator is (and how nice it is to have someone to eat all their leftovers!), they decide the alligator should be allowed to stay. They help the alligator avoid the mayor, for a while. But it's becoming harder to find a place for him to hide. Can they all come together and find a way to keep the alligator in their town? Judith Henderson's funny, whimsical and heartwarming picture book tale offers a playful way to engage children with issues of injustice and civil disobedience.

In this timely story, a boy and then an entire community move beyond their fear of the "other" and respond with acceptance; then they movingly take it a step further to make change. It highlights the positive character education attributes of empathy, kindness, caring and courage. Andrea Stegmaier's illustrations include loads of charming details that are not in the text, making them a perfect complement to the story's warm and quirky style. This is a terrific book for lessons on communities and social justice. (From Kids Can Press)

Judith Henderson is a Canadian children's composer, producer and author. She is also the author of the Big Words Small Stories series.

Andrea Stegmaier is a German illustrator and architect.

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