I Wanna Iguana

I Wanna Iguana

4.7 11
by Karen Kaufman Orloff, David Catrow

View All Available Formats & Editions

Alex just has to convince his mom to let him have an iguana, so he puts his arguments in writing. He promises that she won't have to feed it or clean its cage or even see it if she doesn't want to. Of course Mom imagines life with a six-foot-long iguana eating them out of house and home. Alex's reassurances: It takes fifteen years for an iguana to get that big.


Alex just has to convince his mom to let him have an iguana, so he puts his arguments in writing. He promises that she won't have to feed it or clean its cage or even see it if she doesn't want to. Of course Mom imagines life with a six-foot-long iguana eating them out of house and home. Alex's reassurances: It takes fifteen years for an iguana to get that big. I'll be married by then and probably living in my own house. and his mom's replies: How are you going to get a girl to marry you when you own a giant reptile? will have kids in hysterics as the negotiations go back and forth through notes. And the lively, imaginative illustrations show their polar opposite dreams of life with an iguana.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In an exchange of letters that are sure to bring smiles to both parents and kids, Alex tries to persuade his mother to allow him to keep his friend Mikey's baby iguana as a pet after Mikey moves. The arguments go back and forth. Alex extols its cuteness and promises to care for the iguana, while his mother counters with how the cuteness won't last as the iguana grows to six feet in length, impossible to keep in his room. She also reminds him of his previous carelessness with pets. All the exchanges ring true to the situation. Finally Alex accepts his mother's offer of a "trial basis" to see if he can keep the promises he has made. The bliss on his face as he finds the iguana in his room make it evident how happy he is that his persistence has been rewarded. Catrow clearly has fun depicting in watercolors with pencil the scenes illustrating Alex's current desires, like sharing his bath with the iguana, as well as the future realities, like what to do with the full-grown pet. His cartoon-like characters express their emotions with exaggerated gestures sure to set off giggles. And pear-shaped Alex with his soulful eyes and wispy hair would make a really huggable doll. 2004, GP Putnam's Sons, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-This funny story is told through an amusing exchange of notes, as Alex tries to convince his seemingly unshakable mother that he should be allowed to adopt a friend's baby iguana ("If I don't take it, he goes to Stinky and Stinky's dog, Lurch, will eat it. You don't want that to happen, do you?"). The boy pulls out all the stops in his arguments: iguanas are quiet (so are tarantulas, Mom counters); the reptile could be kept on the dresser (they grow to over six feet, Mom replies); the iguana could be the brother he's always wanted (you already have a brother, Mom reminds him). Featuring his signature cartoon characters, Catrow's illustrations provide a hilarious extension of the text. Alex, with his unruly red cowlicks and kewpie-doll shape, is totally disarming, as is the iguana, which makes imaginative appearances strumming a guitar on a bike, sporting tiny swim trunks, and reading in bed. The tale is perfect for reader's-theater presentations and could also be used effectively as a writing prompt for older children. It will make even the most serious youngsters giggle.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In epistolary dialogue with his mom, a lad yearning for an iguana tries various approaches, from logic and sweet talk to emotional blackmail. His mother puts up a valiant defense-"Dear Mom: Did you know that iguanas are really quiet and they're cute too. I think they are much cuter than hamsters. Love, your adorable son, Alex." "Dear Alex: Tarantulas are quiet too"-before ultimately capitulating. Catrow's scribbly, lurid, purple-and-green illustrations bring the diverse visions of parent and child to hilarious life, as a lizard of decidedly indeterminate ancestry grows in stages to the size of a horse, all the while exhibiting a doglike affection toward its balloon-headed prospective keeper-who is last seen posed by a new terrarium, pumping a fist in victory. A familiar domestic interchange, played out with broad comedy-and mutual respect, too. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.78(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.38(d)
AD460L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Karen Kaufman Orloff is the author of many books for children including I Wanna IguanaI Wanna New Room, and I Wanna Go Home, all inspired by her son's pet iguana who quickly grew to be over four feet long and take over his room. She also writes a humorous column on family life every other week for The Poughkeepsie Journal.

David Catrow is the illustrator of many picture books including Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon and its sequel Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon, written by Patty Lovell; I Wanna Iguana and its two companion books I Wanna New Room and I Wanna Go Home, written by Karen Kaufman Orloff; Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel; The Middle Child Blues by Kristyn Crow; and We the Kids: the Preamble to the Constitution. He lives in Ohio with his wife, Deborah.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

I Wanna Iguana 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey Kids! Have you ever begged your mom or dad for a pet or something else?  If so, you should check out I Wanna Iguana or I Wanna New Room, both by Karen Kaufman. It will give you great ideas of how to convince your parents. Also, it has awesome illustrations. The pictures were SO funny and the text was SUPER SILLY!  It made us laugh out loud! We had to pause the book until the laughing stopped!! Finally, you won't believe how the book ends.  Overall, we highly recommend I Wanna Iguana and I Wanna New Room. The outside is just as good as the inside. We can't wait to check out Karen Kaufman's next book! ~ Students of Room 8, Woodland School
grandmaof5BC More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book for 4 to 8 year olds trying to get what they wantk and mom handled it very well returning the ball to the child. Not very good for younger children, over their heads.
reb55 More than 1 year ago
I used this book during my persuasive letter writing unit in my first grade classroom. The story is humorous and engaging. The letters written between the child and mom are good examples of friendly letters and the persuasive genre. Great book. My students loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great story of a boy who writes letters to persuade his mother to allow him to have an iguana for a pet. The illustrations are beautiful. In the classroom, I use this book to teach persuasive writing (a difficult concept for primary students). I also use this book as a read aloud for teaching letter writing. I love this book so much, I also bought "I Wanna New Room". I have shared this book with many other teachers who have gone out to buy their book. LOVE the concept; LOVE the illustrations --and my students do, too :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sent this to my grandson. He is in kindergarten and 6 years old. He was able to read this entire book over the phone to me. I enjoyed that so much. Got the review out of the Plain Dealer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book works well as a mentor text for teaching persuasive writing with my 4th grade students.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so good at portraying what a child is willing to do to get something he or she wants. I love how clever the little boy is and the communication he has back and forth with his mother. The illustration goes so well with the author's idea and it could not get any better. Love it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
We first found this book at the library. After reading over and over again. We had to buy it. What a fun story. It makes me laugh as much as my son when we read it together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Our family LOVES I Wanna Iguana. Karen Kaufman Orloff's inventive story shows a wonderful, loving and humor-filled parent-child relationship in such a fun way. Our son wants to read it over and over again.