When my kiddo really likes a book, she’ll ask to read it again and again and again, and she’ll only tire of it if something new comes along to replace it. The fact that my daughter has asked to read this book every night for the past two weeks – and still cracks up at the funny parts – speaks volumes.
If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! is a wacky, colorful, and delightful tall tale for children ages 4-7. As Elise Parsley’s New York Times bestselling debut book, it tells the story of Magnolia, a unique girl who responds to her teacher’s request to “bring something from nature for show and tell” by – you guessed it – bringing an alligator to school. As one can guess, havoc ensues.
Magnolia tries to convince her teacher that alligators are “quiet and good” and that he “won’t eat anyone,” but then spends the rest of the story trying to avert certain disaster. The alligator draws funny pictures to make Magnolia laugh, creates paper-airplane origami that winds up in the teacher’s hair, almost eats a fellow student, gets chewing gum everywhere, and eats Magnolia’s lunch. In return, Magnolia gets her name written on the board, followed by several checkmarks and an underline, which guarantees a trip to the principal’s office after school.
If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! is a delightful and silly read, especially for preschool or primary school children who have already experienced show and tell. Parsley does a magnificent job of capturing Magnolia’s frustration and exasperation with this misbehaving beast. The illustrations, which were digitally drawn in Adobe Photoshop and colored in with Corel Painter, are vibrant, imaginative, and spot-on funny. Magnolia’s exaggerated expressions, especially when she’s mad at the “innocent” alligator, are priceless and giggle-worthy…even if you’re a grown-up.
If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!
by Elise Parsley
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
2015, 40 pages, 9.5 x 12.2 x 0.5 inches (hardcover)