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The Picture Book Buzz

Later, Gator! - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Ever wonder how many different rhyming ways an alligator can say goodbye, besides "after awhile, crocodile." What about rhyming ways to say hello?

Later, Gator!

Author & Illustrator: Erik Brooks

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books (2016)

Ages 3-6



Moving, loneliness, rhyming, friendship, and bravery

Synopsis (from Amazon):

After awhile, Crocodile. See you soon, Baboon. LATER, GATOR. Gator’s moving, and he’s so sad to say goodbye to his friends. Worst of all, he doesn’t know anyone in his new neighborhood! But with a little help—and some encouraging letters—from the good pals he left behind, Gator realizes what he has to do. Just say . . . HELLO! And with a Howdy do, Kangaroo and Good afternoon, Raccoon, Gator soon feels right at home. A group of adorable animals, and fun-to-read-aloud text, make this the perfect encouraging story for any new kid in the neighborhood.

Opening Lines:

On his last day,

Gator said goodbye . . .

(Later, Gator!) (After a while, Crocodile!)

(See you soon, Baboon.)

. . . to everyone.

Why I like this book:

There is so much I like about this book. As an army brat, I moved every few years for most of my life. Sometimes making friends is tough in a new town. Erik Brooks does a great job portraying Gator's sadness and loneliness through his priceless watercolor illustrations, which convey so much more than the sparsely worded text. [Even the car looks sad.]

Kids who've moved or had a friend move, will identify with Gator. This book might even help in understanding the new kid in town/school. But there's even more. After receiving letters from friends, with even more awesome rhymes, Gator takes a risk and tries out a few greetings. I love the rhyming phrases that Erik Brooks uses. I remember challenging my brother and sister to create as many of these type of salutations as possible, based on the proverbial "see ya later alligator." This is a really fun read-aloud that will likely encourage a rash of child rhymes.

Related Activities:

- can you make up your own rhyming goodbyes and/or hellos?

- write letters to a classmate or friend who moved. Or a letter back to friends in a former town.

- how can you make a new kid or neighbor feel welcome? What would make you feel welcome?

This post is a part of a series by authors and Kidlit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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