Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!

( 6 )

Overview

6½ stories about 2 surprising friends.

Having a stuffed alligator for a best friend can be surprising.

Sometimes Amanda surprises her alligator with books. Sometimes Alligator surprises Amanda by eating them.

But what happens when Amanda brings home a special—and not entirely welcome—surprise? The result might be unexpected indeed.

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Overview

6½ stories about 2 surprising friends.

Having a stuffed alligator for a best friend can be surprising.

Sometimes Amanda surprises her alligator with books. Sometimes Alligator surprises Amanda by eating them.

But what happens when Amanda brings home a special—and not entirely welcome—surprise? The result might be unexpected indeed.

Beloved author-illustrator Mo Willems has created a funny and tender portrait of friendship that readers of any age will love.

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  • Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!
    Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Six and a half short stories make up this expertly paced page-turner about a girl and her toy alligator, laced with the kid-centric humor on which Willems has built his career. Willems presents everyday, indoor interactions between Amanda and her teal-blue, nontoothy pal, drawn in grainy black crayon with watercolor wash. Alligator waits impatiently for Amanda to return from the library, then asks, "Do you have a surprise for me?" Amanda indulges him by shouting, "Boo!" Then, in a bit of turnabout, while Amanda reads her library books Alligator observes, "Something tickles," followed by "I do!" Another ticklish subject arises when Alligator discovers his price tag and that he came from "the sale bucket" ("Nobody wanted to buy you," Amanda admits, adding, "because they knew you were meant to be my best friend"). The emphasis rests on quiet, ordinary events and the characters' comfortable alliance, which is temporarily threatened by a rival panda toy who bears a resemblance to Knuffle Bunny. As in his Elephant and Piggie books, Willems ends on a generous note, showing how Alligator and Panda overcome their superficial differences and giggle together. Ages 4–8. (May)
Horn Book
"Willems knows how to keep things interesting and his audience engaged."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“This is a perfect stealth early reader, a story that will begin as a chapter-by-chapter readaloud and then get converted by the audience when experience and determination make it time to fly solo. ”
ALA Booklist
“Willems may not have the market cornered on best friends, but few do them better.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This is a perfect stealth early reader, a story that will begin as a chapter-by-chapter readaloud and then get converted by the audience when experience and determination make it time to fly solo. "
Horn Book (starred review)
“Willems knows how to keep things interesting and his audience engaged.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This is a perfect stealth early reader, a story that will begin as a chapter-by-chapter readaloud and then get converted by the audience when experience and determination make it time to fly solo. ”
Children's Literature - Krisan Murphy
This delightful tale of Amanda and Alligator expounds all the emotions of childhood: waiting, wondering, wishing, and wanting. Alligator must wait while Amanda is at the library and hopes for a surprise. When she returns, Amanda delivers a “Boo” which is the “most interesting surprise.” The simple drawings are crisp and clean, ideal for any age child. There are six and a half stories about the friendship of Amanda and Alligator, all of which include surprises. Alligator discovers a sale tag, which reveals he cost Amanda a mere seven cents. The reader learns that “When friends ask you to tell the truth, you tell the truth.” Amanda reveals that he was priced for seven cents, because no one wanted to buy Alligator. This saddens Alligator until Amanda explains, “Because they knew you were meant to be my best friend.” Alligator’s friendship with Amanda is tested again, when Alligator is left at home to wait while she is at the zoo with her grandpa. Children will relate to Alligator’s dislike of waiting. Finally, when Amanda returns, she enters the door with a brand new (and probably expensive) fluffy panda. No one is more surprised than Alligator that he and Panda turn out to be friends. The expressive CD recording with multiple voices and some musical accompaniment has two tracks, one for page-turning notes and one without page-turning notes. Reviewer: Krisan Murphy; Ages 3 to 7.
Children's Literature - Anne Pechnyo
Amanda and her stuffed alligator do everything together. They surprise one another, entertain one another, and gain comfort from their friendship. When Amanda is away, Alligator waits anxiously for her, knowing that they will have fun once she returns. Until one day when Amanda's grandpa takes her to the zoo and buys her a new stuffed friend. Alligator must learn the power of friendship and the compromises it brings. Though a picture book, the story is divided into short chapters, listed in the table of contents. Mo Willems's familiar illustrations, reminiscent of his other books, will draw in and entertain readers of all ages. Sprinkled with insights of friendship, Amanda and Her Alligator will teach young readers valuable lessons, such as the importance of always telling friends the truth when they ask you to. As a read-aloud in the classroom, this title can serve as a resource for teaching children about getting along and being a true friend. Reviewer: Anne Pechnyo
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—These "6½ Surprising Stories About 2 Surprising Friends" expand on the bond between child and toy that Willems captured so well in "Knuffle Bunny." In the first tale, the turquoise stuffed alligator, endearingly pictured clutching his tail, anxiously awaits young Amanda's return from the library. When he asks her for a surprise, she delivers expertly, yelling, "BOO!" Though his first attempt to return the favor is an "un-surprising surprise," Alligator follows Amanda's suggestion to put on his Old Thinking Cap—a kind of Viking helmet with lightbulbs attached—and succeeds. Alligator later overcomes his disappointment at discovering that he was taken from the discount bin when Amanda tells him that no one else bought him because he was meant to be her best friend. Finally, he discovers a new pal in a potential rival toy. The humor in these stories suits both children and adults, as when Amanda notices Alligator chewing on her head while she is reading You Can Make It Yourself: Jet Packs! White pages with partially outlined background elements set the scene, while the characters take center stage. In the author's trademark charcoal and watercolor illustrations, characters once again strike just the right pose to convey a maximum of information with a minimum of artistic sweat. This book is best suited to older preschoolers or beginning readers ready for a transitional-length story that is in between tidy picture-book tales and more complex chapter stories. Amusing and heartwarming, it will leave Willems's fans totally satisfied.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews

An exploration of the nature of surprises between good friends.

The point of view belongs firmly with Amanda's stuffed alligator, whose patience wears thin whenever Amanda is away and he is waiting for her return, and whose generosity is taxed when Amanda brings home a new stuffed panda from a zoo visit. Resourceful Amanda plows through a stack of library books with enticing titles (Whale Songs for Beginners;You Can Make It Yourself: Jet Packs!) as her alligator thinks of ways to engage her attention. When Alligator begins chewing on Amada's head, she tells him "Books beat boredom," but he still thinks her head tastes better than a book. Alligator's worry over his price tag (he came from the sale bin) and the introduction of the new "friend" add emotional complexity to the simple friendship tale. The pacing, word volume and wide trim size are all inviting and encouraging, bringing readers close to the cozy friendship between Amanda and her impatient stuffed friend. The figures are set against plenty of white space, giving them an appealing kinetic energy and encouraging the eye to move, or sometimes gallop, across the page.

Silly, warm and inviting, the six-and-1/2 short episodic chapters are just right for reading aloud as well as for beginning readers who are steady on their reading feet.(Picture book. 3-7)

Pamela Paul
Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator! is told, early-reader style, in six and a half chapters, but it is shaped, accessibly, like a picture book. This makes it easy and fun, as well as unexpectedly meaty. It also makes Amanda and Her Alligator! enthralling both to children who have begun to read ("I can read this!") and to those who haven't ("Read it all!").
—The New York Times
Kristi Jemtegaard
Willems's deft draftsmanship and expressive lines—a flat eyebrow here, a wobbly tail there—tell the emotional story that lies behind the guileless text, a classic combination that's endlessly familiar and endlessly surprising.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062004000
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Pages: 72
  • Sales rank: 235,916
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.06 (w) x 10.76 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Mo Willems

Mo Willems knows a Good Idea when he sees one. A three-time Caldecott Honor winner (for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny, and Knuffle Bunny Too), he also won two Geisel Medals and two Geisel Honors for his Elephant and Piggie books. His books are perennial New York Times bestsellers, including Knuffle Bunny Free, Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!, and the Cat the Cat series. Before he turned to making picture books, Mo was a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he won six Emmys. Mo lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Mo Willems knows a Good Idea when he sees one. A three-time Caldecott Honor winner (for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny, and Knuffle Bunny Too), he also won two Geisel Medals and two Geisel Honors for his Elephant and Piggie books. His books are perennial New York Times bestsellers, including Knuffle Bunny Free, Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!, and the Cat the Cat series. Before he turned to making picture books, Mo was a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he won six Emmys. Mo lives with his family in Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2011

    OK, but not a Willems best

    We are huge Mo Willems fans in our house and the truth is, he's so amazing and his books are so fun that he's set the bar incredibly high for himself. This book is cute, but not a rip-roaring laugh like an Elephant and Piggie book, nor as tear-jerking as Knuffle Bunny Free. I am not saying it's bad, but don't expect it to knock your socks off like so many other Willems books. My boys (6 and 4) still enjoyed it and my 6 year old likes that he can read it to us and the 4 year old likes feeling he's reading a chapter book. Overall it's just OK. For classic Willems, look at other titles and skip this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Highly recommended

    One of my granddaughters favorite books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    Not as endearing as Knuffle Bunny & Elephant & Piggie bo

    Not as endearing as Knuffle Bunny & Elephant & Piggie books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 18, 2012

    Another great by Mo Willems

    My daughter loves this book. It's both sweet and hilarious. Willems has mastered the art of writing books that are fun for kids and adults. I don't mind reading it over and over again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Wonderful Book

    I am a huge Mo Willems fan! This book is no exception. I laughed out loud the first time I read this one, which tells the story of a little girl, Amanda, and her stuffed alligator. Both of them experience things we, and our kids, face on a daily basis. Jealousy, loneliness, boredom, excitement, and making new friends are all covered in a way only Willems can. The 6 1/2 small chapters break it up very well, and the language is great for beginning readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2011

    Excellent

    We enjoyed this story very much. It covers friendship and jelousy, yet it is fun and endearing. Another gem from Mo Willems.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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