As you can guess from the title, Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator centers around the friendship between a girl named Amanda and her alligator toy. But it’s the child-like alligator (the picture of him fiddling with his tail is hilarious!) who is the star of this show, in these stories at least. He waits impatiently while Amanda is at the library and then battles boredom while she reads her books (the alligator’s antics will have kids giggling with glee). When it’s his turn to surprise Amanda, the endearing alligator (his cartoon face is wonderfully expressive) uses a thinking cap to come up with a tickle-worthy solution. In another chapter, the alligator is upset when he discovers how much he cost (his price tag reads “seven cents”). In the last chapter, the alligator faces yet another surprise—Amanda brings home a new stuffed animal, a giant panda. How will he handle this fluffy interloper? Leave it to Willems to come up with a
funny, heartwarming ending that will delight and reassure readers!
If you find that your kids love Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator, check out Ellen’s Lion by Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon). There’s more text in these short stories (targeted to slightly older children, ages 6 to 10), but it also features a young girl and her beloved stuffed animal. Their creative, tender relationship, the humor of the stories, and the
simple, delightful illustrations all remind me of what I like so much about Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator.
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Are you familiar with this book and/or the Elephant and Piggie series? What are
some other books you’d recommend for beginning readers?