|Hooray for Amanda & her alligator!
Author: Willems, Mo
Amanda and her alligator have lots of fun together, but when Amanda's grandfather buys her a panda, Alligator must learn to make new friends.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 2.50
Points: .5 Quiz: 143695
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 1.20
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 53742
Common Core Standards
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Craft & Structure
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 2 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 2.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 2 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 2.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 2 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/15/11)
School Library Journal (+) (05/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/11)
The Hornbook (+) (00/07/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/01/2011 Here’s a new pair of kid-and-stuffed-animal best friends from Willems. Although Amanda gets top billing in these “6 1/2 Surprising Stories about 2 Surprising Friends,” Alligator is the real star of this show. After a bit of warmhearted play and a feisty tickle romp, Alligator is sad to learn that he went for a measly seven cents in a sale bucket, so Amanda explains that it was because everyone knew he was meant to be her best friend. Elsewhere, efficient jabs of absurdity (“Amanda was reading her library book You Can Make It Yourself: Jet Packs! when she noticed her alligator chewing on her head”) balance with wise lessons on the mechanics of friendship (Alligator, dismayed when Amanda comes home with a stuffed panda, learns that friendships work as well in trios as they do duos).With the book's minimal backgrounds and a roomy page design, the focus falls squarely on Willems’ cleanly styled characters, whose facial expressions are carried in the simplest of just-so lines. Willems may not have the market cornered on best friends, but few do them better. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2011 Six—well, six and one-half—very short stories document the relationship of young Amanda and her beloved toy alligator. The ongoing (and child-pleasing) theme is surprise, with story titles such as “A Surprising Surprise,” “A Surprising Value,” and “A Surprising Discovery” (between stories two and three is a short bonus story called “An Extra Surprise”). The episodes are compact, each between four and twelve pages long including an opening chapter-title spread, and they treat matters ranging from the joys of reading to the value of friendship to the pleasures of making a new friend. Willems tackles such topics in his own inimitable style, with touches of absurdity contrasting with the comfortably playful relationship between girl and ’gator (“Amanda was reading her new library book You Can Make It Yourself: Jet Packs! when she noticed her alligator chewing on her head”). The text reads easily both alone and aloud, with short sentences, much of it dialogue or Alligator’s thoughts, appearing in reassuringly large print and in polite subordination, sizewise, to full-size picture-book pages. Illustrative style is slightly more Knuffle than Elephant and Piggie, with wide crayony lines providing texture, movement indications, and outline, and succulent jelly-bean hues in watercolor filling in the lines; the abundant white space confers a generous, roomy feel that enhances the focus on the main players (especially the criminally adorable alligator) and adds to the ease of the reading experience. This is a perfect stealth early reader, a story that will begin as a chapter-by-chapter readaloud and then get converted by the audience when experience and determination make it time to fly solo. DS - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2011 PreS-Gr 2—These "6½ Surprising Stories About 2 Surprising Friends" expand on the bond between child and toy that Willems captured so well in "Knuffle Bunny." In the first tale, the turquoise stuffed alligator, endearingly pictured clutching his tail, anxiously awaits young Amanda's return from the library. When he asks her for a surprise, she delivers expertly, yelling, "BOO!" Though his first attempt to return the favor is an "un-surprising surprise," Alligator follows Amanda's suggestion to put on his Old Thinking Cap—a kind of Viking helmet with lightbulbs attached—and succeeds. Alligator later overcomes his disappointment at discovering that he was taken from the discount bin when Amanda tells him that no one else bought him because he was meant to be her best friend. Finally, he discovers a new pal in a potential rival toy. The humor in these stories suits both children and adults, as when Amanda notices Alligator chewing on her head while she is reading You Can Make It Yourself: Jet Packs! White pages with partially outlined background elements set the scene, while the characters take center stage. In the author's trademark charcoal and watercolor illustrations, characters once again strike just the right pose to convey a maximum of information with a minimum of artistic sweat. This book is best suited to older preschoolers or beginning readers ready for a transitional-length story that is in between tidy picture-book tales and more complex chapter stories. Amusing and heartwarming, it will leave Willems's fans totally satisfied.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.