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The Underground Gators
     

The Underground Gators

by Tina Casey, Lynn Munsinger (Illustrator)
 

Legend has it that alligators live in the New York City sewers. But city life isn't for everyone. Some of those alligators packed up and swam away in search of peace and quiet. Why, they could be living right under your feet. This explains a lot of things. Like what does the babysitter do after you go to bed? Alligators love to play Go Fish. And where do

Overview

Legend has it that alligators live in the New York City sewers. But city life isn't for everyone. Some of those alligators packed up and swam away in search of peace and quiet. Why, they could be living right under your feet. This explains a lot of things. Like what does the babysitter do after you go to bed? Alligators love to play Go Fish. And where do teachers go in the summer? Alligators know the value of a good education.

Uproariously funny illustrations and an author's note about what's really living in the NYC sewer system enhance this wry tale.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"Legend has it that alligators live in the sewers of New York City." Casey assures us that they must be there, because that explains so many things. For example, smoke is always coming up from the streets because alligators love barbecue. The many wires on the Brooklyn Bridge are there for the alligators to dry their laundry. Some of the alligators, however, may have tired of the city and left. Slyly, Casey reminds us, "They could be anywhere…under your feet!" And so we discover that the sock missing in the laundry has been taken by an alligator to make a puppet. We even find out why school buses are orange, and who fills in for the sick Tooth Fairy; why pizzas are round and doughnuts have holes. Munsinger's sketchy water-colored alligators just take over, watched by a young boy who finally smiles along with us. The sketchy tongue-in-cheek text is simply the spur for Munsinger's visual imagination, delivering pages of anthropomorphic gators at play. For example, nobody argues with a suitably attired squad of zealous gators painting the school bus orange. And you had better be prepared with pizza and doughnuts if they show up at your house. You can go along and have as much fun as they do. A note by Casey, who worked for the New York City department that runs the sewer system, fills in factual information about the legend. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

Casey pens a nonsensical tale in a humorous attempt to explain the urban legend of alligators in the NYC sewer system. The premise is promising, but the execution falls flat. The author begins by introducing the legend of the alligators, but states that no one has ever seen them. She goes on to pose some ridiculous explanations of why they must live there-New York has a plethora of hot-dog stands because alligators love hot dogs; the Brooklyn Bridge has cables so the creatures can dry their laundry. She then explains that not all alligators love city life; some of them have packed up and moved, maybe to your town. The author goes on to ask: How else do you explain why teachers take the summers off? Or why doughnuts have holes? (So alligators can carry them home on their tails.) Munsinger's illustrations are the only redeeming aspect of this story. The watercolor illustrations picture mischievous alligators up to no good. The center spread is delightful, showing alligators in a supermarket making a giant, glorious mess. However, the explanation of why they are there illustrates many of the book's flaws: "When you go to the supermarket, keep a sharp eye out for those alligators. They are usually in the cereal aisle, making forts." Why? The book concludes with an interesting explanation of the source of the urban legend.-Lisa Crandall, Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI

Kirkus Reviews
Casey offers a free-association reply to a question she heard many times as an employee of New York's Department of Environmental Protection. Are there alligators in the sewers? Of course! Pizzas are round so that the gators can get them into the manholes. The Brooklyn Bridge is strung with cables so they'll have a place to hang their laundry. They go to school in the summer, so that's where all the teachers go, too. New York isn't the only place they live, either; keep your eyes open and you could spot them in your town. In typically busy scenes Munsinger crowds plenty of gently smiling reptiles in human dress-chowing down on hot dogs, painting school buses and bedrooms orange (not yellow, as the text has it) and stealing single socks from the wash for hand puppets. The afterword supplies an enlightening, if less fanciful, look at the urban myth. Fun enough, in an ephemeral sort of way. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525472131
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/16/2009
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Tina Casey lives in Summit, New Jersey.

Lynn Munsinger is a bestselling illustrator of books, including Tacky the Penguin and Hooway for Wodney Wat, by Helen Lester. She divides her time between Connecticut and Vermont.

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