Synopses & Reviews
Lonely for laughter, a carousel animal goes on a courageous journey in Randy Cecils delightful new picture book.
Gator loves everything about being a carousel animal — the flashing lights, the calliope music, and most of all, the laughter. But day by day, week by week, fewer and fewer people come to the amusement park, until one day, no one comes at all. And so begins an extraordinary odyssey,as Gator leaves behind the only life hes ever known and sets off through some deep, dark woods to a place with REAL alligators — and a wonderful, familiar sound. Illustrator Randy Cecil puts on his authors hat for this moving story of a modest carousel alligator who finds what hes looking for and becomes a hero along the way.
"Gator, who is a grinning green merry-go-round fixture and not an actual reptile, recalls a time when the amusement park was popular with children. Gradually, crowds stop coming, and the hurdy-gurdy days fade. Gator imagines the ride operating and 'the wind on his face. But it was only a spider attaching its web to his snout.' Somehow (not shown in the pictures) Gator detaches from his carousel pole, leaving a 'hole in his heart.' Waddling like a penguin, he follows the sound of laughter to a zoo, where his painted-on saddle distinguishes him from the (mostly) sleeping alligators. Cecil's (We've All Got Bellybuttons!) nostalgic tale echoes many classic books. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, Gator isn't real enough to blend with living creatures; like Virginia Lee Burton's Little House, he is old-fashioned but sturdy. His quest, like theirs, ends with a lucky break: a boy hears Gator sniffling, and the boy's father recognizes Gator, leading to a revival of the decrepit carousel. Soon 'everything was just the way it used to be.' Cecil's shadowy, sepia-tinted oil paintings recall the art for Fred Marcellino's I, Crocodile, but attached to a rather maudlin story. Even if Gator's desire to reverse time is understandable, the wishful conclusion feels false rather than magical. Ages 3-5." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
When the amusement park where he had been a happy carousel animal closes, Gator decides to explore the outside world but finds it a very lonely place. 14,000 first printing.
A carousel alligator goes on a courageous journey to find a place with real alligators--and a wonderful, familiar sound--in this moving and modest story. Full color.
About the Author
Randy Cecil has illustrated more than half a dozen books for children, including AND HERE'S TO YOU!, MY FATHER THE DOG, and WE'VE ALL GOT BELLYBUTTONS! He lives in Houston, Texas, where he also grew up.