Alejandro's Gift

Alejandro's Gift

4.6 3
by Richard E. Albert, Sylvia Long

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This uplifting story about one man's gift to the desert and the gift he receives in return has a powerful environmental lesson.


This uplifting story about one man's gift to the desert and the gift he receives in return has a powerful environmental lesson.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his first children's book, octogenarian Albert uses the appealing story of a lonely man as the framework for an edifying lesson on desert wildlife. Living in a remote adobe house, with only his burro for a companion, Alejandro is delighted when a squirrel appears in his garden one day and eventually returns with more visitors--jackrabbits, roadrunners, cactus wrens--all realistically portrayed by Long ( Ten Little Rabbits ; Fire Race ). Realizing that it is the water in his garden that attracts the small creatures, Alejandro decides to dig a water hole to accommodate the larger desert animals, like the coyotes, javelinas and bobcats. Puzzled when they seem to ignore the water, Alejandro finally realizes that the hole is too close to his house and the road. So the kind man digs another, more sheltered, water hole, and his offering to the animals and their inadvertent gift of company are mutually appreciated. Detailed pictures and descriptions of Alejandro's animal neighbors are provided on the final spread, allowing readers to become better acquainted with the creatures that Long works into her polished paintings, which impressively recreate the muted colors and varied textures of the desert. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Alejandro, a man in his 60s, lives in a small adobe house beside an isolated desert road. His only companion is a burro. To ease his loneliness, he tends to his garden. One day, a ground squirrel approaches the garden to drink from its furrows, followed by wood rats, pocket gophers, jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, pocket mice, roadrunners, gila woodpeckers, and thrashers. Time passes more quickly, and Alejandro enjoys his new companions. However, he soon realizes that they come to him for water, not for company, and sets out to dig a water hole for them. Albert's simple and poetic text evokes the silence and emptiness in Alejandro's life. He grows to understand his interdependence with the land and its creatures as he lives among them. Long's rich, detailed, and realistically rendered pictures provide the perfect visual setting to an already memorable tale. The colorfully illustrated glossary of flora and fauna is informative. An ideal book to develop in readers an appreciation for the beauty of the desert and its inhabitants.-Graciela Italiano, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Product Details

Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.12(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.25(d)
AD840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
1 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Richard Albert began his career as a writer of pulp Westerns, but the demands of his family and his engineering career resulted in a thirty-year hiatus from writing. This is his first book for children.

Sylvia Long is the illustrator of several books for children including the best sellers Ten Little Rabbits and Alejandro's Gift. Ms. Long's detailed paintings are inspired by her love of animals and the outdoors. She lives in Arizona. Read more about Sylvi

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Alejandro's Gift 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
exactlywhatineed More than 1 year ago
I discovered this story while working as a library storyteller and it has become my top recommendation to parents and children of all ages. Even my 3 & 5 year olds will sit through my abbreviated version, then we go outside and put seed and water out for the birds and small mammals. We talk about how man has affected habitat, the value of the animals to the environment, what we can do to protect the animals that visit our own back yard, and many other things. It is a beautiful story and a valuable addition to any collection.
paperpusher More than 1 year ago
This is a very cute book. Not you're usual A is for Apple boring stuff. The author is creative. And on each page besides the main photo are all kinds of other objects that start with the same letter. You have to expand the screen to see them and it's such fun!
rosebud02 More than 1 year ago
i have read it yet to give an opinion