Walter and Mike are alligator hooligans who did not listen to their parents or sister’s advice. “Uh, they’re going to get in trouble!” said my seven year old friend. “I’ve never heard of alligators getting their own water park!” said my six year old friend. The nine month old listened with patience as he was waiting to devour the pages like an alligator devours its next meal.
Walter and Mike Get Their Own Fun Park Pool to Play in by Kathleen Morrissey is a wonderful tale of the consequences of being inquisitive, peer pressure and responsibilities. Two crazy young alligators hear the excitement of the children laughing and splashing at a Florida resort and Mike, the alligator, just had to fulfill his curiosity. The foolish alligator meandered to that side of the park, with his brother, Walter, who followed for protection. As one can imagine, alligators near human beings, children especially, are not looked upon favorably. Once these two brothers were seen by a gaggle of children, the alligators were taken away by two state rangers resembling the Wet Bandits. Of course, in true happy ending tales, Walter and Mike’s family found them alive, spent some time in lockup at the shelter and were released into the Wildlife Reserve where the alligators could slide down their own pools with people watching and admiring them.
This book would be a terrific read for children who are exposed to alligators daily or for families preparing to vacation in the Everglades and drive along alligator ally. It lends itself wisely to teachable moments to talk with children about peer pressure and plans of actions if they should spot one of the cuddly creatures with big eyes and a long snout near there playing area. There are no hot shot hero’s (except for the dad who says that they should contact the security people because they would know what to do) and good problem solving conversation between the children who found the kid alligators. The pictures are vibrant and the words easy to read. There are only four chapters; one is considerably longer than the others, but they are easy to read with few stumbling words for a seven year old reading to a younger sibling. Have no fear of translating grunting, hissing or bellowing alligator dialogue, it is translated into English.
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was given to the volunteer with the understanding that a fair and honest review would be written of it.