Alligators All Around

Alligators take readers through the ABCs.

What parents need to know

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Violence & scariness
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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.

Families can talk 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.

Book details

Author:Maurice Sendak
Illustrator:Maurice Sendak
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publication date:December 31, 1969
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 4

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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