This debut picture book by Elise Parsley had me giggling from the first page, and I didn’t stop until I finished the book. What an exceptional start to Ms. Parsley’s picture book career!If You Ever Want to Bring An Alligator to School, DON’T! (or Alligator for short) is a wonderful tale that shares what might happen should you decide to take an alligator to school for show-and-tell. It begins by explaining that:
“If your teacher tells you to bring something from nature for show-and-tell, she means a hollow stick, or a bird’s nest or some sparkly rocks. She does not want you to bring an alligator.”
This is very helpful information, since my children’s teachers only allow them to bring items from nature for show-and-tell. We have not yet found an alligator to bring in, but I suspect that both Alex and Abby would jump at the chance to bring in something this exciting as their show-and-tell item if they found one. I’m glad we now know what might happen if they actually decided to do it.
In the book, Magnolia takes an alligator to school, and it causes all manner of trouble. Each time it does, the teacher blames Magnolia. First, the teacher writes Magnolia’s name up on the board. Then she puts checkmarks beside Magnolia’s name. Eventually, she underlines Magnolia’s name, and Magnolia seems destined for a trip to the principal’s office.
Magnolia tells the tale entirely as an instruction to others, all in second person narration. It is well done, and a nice change from the typical picture book style. The font looks as though Magnolia hand-wrote the book. It all works very well together.
Ms. Parsley’s illustrations in Alligator are perfectly paired with the text. In the early pages of the book, the alligator appears innocent and anything but trouble. But watch for when the alligator gets hungry and takes a bite out of one of Magnolia’s classmates without his knowledge!
The alligator has many skills. It entertains Magnolia with its drawing skills, and later shows off its origami!
After her show-and-tell experience in Alligator, Magnolia has appeared in two more cautionary tales: If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T! and If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, DON’T! I haven’t had a chance to read these two yet, but since they feature Magnolia, they are bound to be hilarious.
Ms. Parsley can be found at www.eliseparsley.com, where she has information about her writing and illustrating career. On her website, she shares a link to the amazing story of the three-day journey from searching for an agent to having a signed book contract. If You Ever Want to Bring An Alligator to School, DON’T! is a fantastic book that deserves to have such an incredible back-story!
Magnolia is certainly a new favorite in our house. I look forward to reading about pianos at the beach and circuses at the library, and many more fabulous books from Ms. Parsley soon!
Have you read any great books lately?