An Alligator and Friends Or Friendly Antics
by Adrienne Harrell

"She wants the bear to share with everyone. The bear doesn't understand sharing..."

Lily the friendly alligator is a pet of the Baker family, which includes children, grandparents, Hiram the Bassett hound, and friendly bees, bears, and bunnies, too. The adventuresome family goes camping, taking life as it comes, in comical, whimsical style. Similarly, the tale is told in an unconventional, almost stream-of-consciousness manner: "Look out! There is a railroad crossing! Here comes a train! Gran'ma gets stuck on the track...I thought I'd lost you. Don't ever try to speed in your wheelchair again… Whee that sure was a fun ride, says Gran'ma."

The antics continue and the illustrations, drawn by Shannen Marie Paradero, are as lively, silly, and colorful as the characters themselves. Nothing is lacking; from dances, parades, skates, and wagons, the family shows what having fun means. But the book is not pure silliness. Underlying life skills are woven in with questions to make the story more interactive: "Do you have precious stuff that no one must touch? I guess we all do."

The audience is the "learning-to-share" age. Preschoolers and first graders learning to express their individual and unique likes and dislikes will jump right into Lily the alligator's world and laugh around the campfire with the Bakers. The author is imaginative and uses the family dialogue to help young children with routine occurrences such as reminding them that ghost stories are make-believe and subtly showing them that the local police are part of the community. The rhythm of her writing makes reading and listening to this book delightful. This fanciful children's book might become a family favorite. And eventually, after passing this book down to grandchildren, it shouldn't be shocking when they begin asking for a pet alligator.

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