Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Snip Snap Alligator by Mara Bergman and Nick Maland (Hodder Children's Books)

Snip Snap Alligator

Written by Mara Bergman

Illustrated by Nick Maland

Published by Hodder Children's Books

This is an interesting little book. At first glimpse it reads and feels a bit like a simple tale of some children being menaced by an alligator. But peel back those layers, looking for the subtle hues underneath its reptilian belly and there's more to "Snip Snap Alligator" than meets the eye.

Three children are at home when suddenly an escaped Alligator creeps slowly into the house, scaling the stairs, worming his way around corridors in search of easy meat. With each turn of the page the book seems to become more menacing, the alligator grows in the minds of the children and in the way he fills each page spread - until the children stand up to him and frighten him so much that he scampers off.

We read this through a few times before it began to sink in that it'd make a very powerful anti-bullying story. Make no bones about it, the alligator has no redeeming features, he's menacing and snaps his jaws - but when the children stand up to him he's as cowardly as they come. Describing something so terrifying but also describing how to deal with something that scary, the book really does seem to work on several levels but for children who have had issues with bullying, it speaks to them in a language they'll absolutely understand.

One last thing - the Amazon write-up on this book describes it as being like "We're going on a bear hunt" - Er, how? That completely passed me by!

Charlotte's best bit: The children standing firm and winning out in the end

Daddy's Favourite bit: Subtle, dark, menacing but also very cleverly uplifting at the end.

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