Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!

by Mo Willems (Author) Mo Willems (Illustrator)

Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

6 and 1/2 stories about 2 surprising friends.

Having a stuffed alligator for a best friend can be surprising.

Sometimes Amanda surprises her alligator with books. Sometimes Alligator surprises Amanda by eating them.

But what happens when Amanda brings home a special--and not entirely welcome--surprise? The result might be unexpected indeed.

Beloved author-illustrator Mo Willems has created a funny and tender portrait of friendship that readers of any age will love.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Six and a half short stories make up this expertly paced page-turner about a girl and her toy alligator, laced with the kid-centric humor on which Willems has built his career. Willems presents everyday, indoor interactions between Amanda and her teal-blue, nontoothy pal, drawn in grainy black crayon with watercolor wash. Alligator waits impatiently for Amanda to return from the library, then asks, "Do you have a surprise for me?" Amanda indulges him by shouting, "Boo!" Then, in a bit of turnabout, while Amanda reads her library books Alligator observes, "Something tickles," followed by "I do!" Another ticklish subject arises when Alligator discovers his price tag and that he came from "the sale bucket" ("Nobody wanted to buy you," Amanda admits, adding, "because they knew you were meant to be my best friend"). The emphasis rests on quiet, ordinary events and the characters' comfortable alliance, which is temporarily threatened by a rival panda toy who bears a resemblance to Knuffle Bunny. As in his Elephant and Piggie books, Willems ends on a generous note, showing how Alligator and Panda overcome their superficial differences and giggle together. Ages 4-8. (May)

Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2--These "61/2 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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Mo Willems

LeUyen Pham is the prolific and bestselling illustrator of many books for children, including Gracefor President by Kelly DiPucchio, Freckleface Strawberryby Julianne Moore and God's Dreamby Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pham has also written and illustrated her own works, including All the Things I Love About Youand Big Sister, Little Sister. A former animator for DreamWorks, shelives with her husband and two sons in Los Angeles.

See above.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2011
Age Range
4 - 8 years
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2012
Beehive Awards
Nominee 2013
Young Hoosier Book Award
Nominee 2014

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