For ages 6 to 8
Candlewick Press, 2007, 978-0-7636-2952-6
Gator is a carousel animal, and there is nothing that he likes more than hearing the laughter of the children who are riding the carousel. For years, children line up to have a turn on the carousel, and Gator and his friend Duck are always busy. Then, over time, fewer and fewer children come to the carousel for rides. Finally, one day, the carousel lights are turned off, the music stops playing, and Gator is forgotten.
For a while Gator sleeps, but then he wakes up and he decides that he should leave the park and go out into the world. Gator walks through a scary dark forest, he sees some real ducks and finds out that they can fly. Then he comes to a place where people are laughing and clearly enjoying themselves. Gator dares to hope that he has found “some sort of amusement park,” and he goes to investigate. Perhaps this place can be his new home.
When we first meet Gator, he does not give us the impression that he is all that special. Then he dares to leave the only home he has ever known to find a new life for himself. This is a truly brave thing to do, and children will see that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Gator head out into the unknown to look for a new future for himself, and he does something wonderful in the process.
This a tale that has a charming main character, beautiful illustrations, and a story that will resonate with readers of all kinds.