Alligators Overheadby C. Lee McKenzie
Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town's bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he's up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn't the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete's guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find his aunt and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.
- CreateSpace Publishing
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- 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)
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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite Pete’s not a bad kid – just a bit too playful, or at least that what he thinks. Always looking for excitement in his new home in boring, backward Hadleyville after the death of his parents, Peter Riley finds more than he can handle when a 100-year-old house pops up in the vacant yard next to his Aunt Lizzy’s house in Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie. Worrying about a phone call from Principal Pitt that he expects will ruin his Spring Break, Pete rides his bike through the hedge and runs smack into the old Hadley mansion that had disappeared 100 years earlier. Imagine Pete and Weasel’s surprise when they discover that not only are there witches in Hadleyville, but Aunt Lizzy is one of the leaders! In an effort to save the Ornofree swamp, which is home to all sorts of wildlife, Lizzy and her sister witches along with Harriet Hadley, owner of the time-traveling house, try to prevent a construction company from filling in the land to build a shopping center. Things don’t go smoothly since no one has used magic in a long time, so it is up to Pete to channel powers he never knew he had and cast a spell to save the day. Can Pete do the responsible thing this time and help or will the swamp and its special alligators disappear? Truly imaginative and quite engaging, Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie is a terrific story for young readers. Along with amusing characters and a well-paced plot, this story provides subtle messages about love, loss and responsibility, as well as the need for protecting the environment. With plenty of humor and action fit for kids, Pete and his best friend accept a serious challenge and learn that there’s more to life than just having fun.
My Thoughts - 3 out of 5 unicorns - I liked it!! **Received the ebook free through Story Cartel for an honest review. Both the cover and title will attract boys who like alligators which is all the rage on many TV show themes. I liked that story, but there were parts I thought were slow. However, I think a middle school boy interested in alligators would love this story, and I will probably re-read this story with my son if we have time. The story’s main character is Pete who is a troubled orphan being cared for by his aunt. There are lots of secrets that he is unaware of, but start unraveling when a mysterious mansion appears in the empty lot next to his house. The story contains alligators of course, a swamp, mystery, magic, best friends, trouble making, floating donuts, and so much more. I recommend this to alligator loving boys in middle school.
Middle Grade readers are in for a treat with Alligators Overhead by author C. Lee McKenzie. Take one twelve-year-old who seems to be constantly losing the battle to be good and stay out of mischief, give him a brainy, not-so-adventurous sidekick and a town full of out-of-practice witches, and you have a fun read full of misadventure. Toss in the witches’ familiars, a swamp and an underhanded politician and you have the makings of even more trouble for young Pete and his buddy Weasel. Did I mention the old mansion that appears out of nowhere, right after Pete was dreaming about it? Pete is about to go on the adventure of his life, getting into more trouble than even HE could have dreamed of! (And he thought the small town of Hadleyville was boring!) From page one, I adored Pete and Weasel! C. Lee McKenzie nailed their characters perfectly! I admired Weasel’s loyalty to Pete, who really doesn’t mean to cause trouble, it just “happens!” And talk about surprises, there is more magic in the air at every turn and all points lead to Pete, who just may become the hero he has always wanted to be! Written in an easy to follow style, full of humorous moments, spooky moments and even a few heart-warming moments, Middle Grade readers will enjoy the fast pace and twists, the antics of Pete and Weasel and the fantasy of magic. Just watch out for the Alligators Overhead, they’re really there! I received a review copy of Alligators Overhead from Story Cartel and C. Lee McKenzie in exchange for my honest review.
This is a very enjoyable read. It's got a swamp, alligators, witches, and plenty of mysterious happenings. What more could you want? Oh yeah, a boy who seems to be always getting into trouble, it's got that too. But is the trouble he gets into always HIS fault? You'll have to read this charming and humorous story to find out.
What happens when you mix witches and warlocks, a mansion and alligators, mental telepathy and two twelve-year-old boys on a mission? You end up with an adventure, a mystery, a cast of unique characters, and a whole new attitude about alligators, that’s what. ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD, Author C. Lee McKenzie’s novel for mg/tween readers, takes the reader on a fast paced, never dull journey with Peter Riley and his friend Weasel in their attempts to save the Ornofree Swamp from being destroyed. On the way to achieve their goal, the boys explore a mansion that vanished years ago, but suddenly appears on the vacant lot by Pete’s Aunt Lizzie’s house. (He came to live with his aunt after his parents died.) They meet witches also on a mission to save the swampland, hunters determined to capture the alligators, and have to right a witch’s spell that goes terribly wrong. As Pete and Weasel struggle to solve each problem, confidence in their abilities grows and each boy discovers strengths in himself to carry on, in spite of the danger they face. The characters in ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD are well developed each with his/her own distinct personality. Aunt Lizzie’s way of doubling up words ¾ “eerie-bad” for example ¾ Weasel’s intelligence and caution, and Pete’s discovery of who he really is bring the characters to life, like real people, although with powers that no mortal has. Oh, and if you’re like I was at first, and alligators are not your favorite critter, I think after you read C. Lee McKenzie’s story, you’ll have a different opinion about the scaly creatures. Now, I like alligators, especially Fanon. I’ll still keep my distance from them, however. This novel would make a great addition for school libraries, public libraries, and your own private library. ARC EBook courtesy of the author. ###