Alligators All Around

Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
Alligators All Around Book Poster Image
Alligators take readers through the ABCs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the words have been chosen for their memorability and the alligators are highly emotive -- it won't take long before read-alouds become harmonies.

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What's the story?

F is for fooling. G is for giggles. In this primer a family of alligators take readers through the ABCs. Maurice Sendak's little book is charming, and even though it's dated, it conveys the warmth and humor little ones desire always.


Is it any good?

The words are fun and effective and the illustrations are charming, but they may seem simplistic to today's audience. They're done in black and white with a few colors added, a printing style common in the early '60s. The expressions, however, are right as rain. In the illustration accompanying "never napping," the young alligator has rings under the eyes and a deep slouch to the shoulders; in the art that goes with "having headaches," the two adult alligators are lying in bed with damp cloths over their eyes.

Maurice Sendak has a way of blending the everyday with the bizarre, extending the possibilities of life. These alligators may be throwing tantrums and acting spoiled and fooling around, but they are also riding reindeer and entertaining elephants. The discontinuities penetrate, and in the process so do the letters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the letters of the alphabet. Find items around your home that begin with each letter. Kids might want to make their own alphabet primer using pictures cut from magazines or their own drawings.

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