Book: Oliver and His Alligator
Author: Paul Schmid
Illustrator: Paul Schmid
Source: Local Library
Oliver is a little worried about his first day of school. So he brings along an alligator. As you do. Handily, the alligator eats everyone who scares Oliver (including the lady who asks his name and the overly friendly classmate). Unfortunately, with all the scary people eaten, Oliver finds himself quite alone and not a little bored. What’s a boy with an alligator to do now?
This hits two of my favorite picture-book themes: shy or introverted children and people getting eaten. (WHAT. I never said I was normal.) Oliver’s worries are immediately recognizable. New people! New surroundings! Being asked to make conversation with strangers! For the kid on the quiet side, it’s a nightmare, to which an alligator to make you feel brave is a reasonable solution. You can read the alligator as entirely imaginary (his outline is in a pale green, in contrast to everyone else’s black outline) with Oliver really just hiding from the other kids. But I prefer to read it literally, because it makes me giggle.