CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 22. . . .February 13, 2015
Generations of Canadian children and families grew up reading poems from Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie collection. To celebrate the 40th anniversary “of the beloved classic poem”, this board book format brings the titular poem to life. Sandy Nichols' whimsical illustrations add to the nonsensical poem, elaborating on the story. In this version, it is two children who manage to steal away a slice of pie, a bowl of stew, and the entire pot of soup from an alligator. Using ingenious, and very Canadian, methods to trick the alligator out of the soup, the pictures tell a story beyond the already catchy rhythm and rhyme of the poem, itself.
The pattern of the rhyme is what makes it ideal for the very young. In truth, many people older than the intended age range will enjoy the book, whether it’s from a sense of nostalgia or for the lovely illustrations. Done as line drawings and enhanced by watercolour painting, the predominant colour is the green of the alligator’s scales. It carries through the entire book, and each of the items mentioned in the poem is highlighted by being done in more vibrant watercolours. The contrast against the white background makes it perfect for babies and toddlers to focus on while still working for the more mature readers.
Parents who grew up chanting “Alligator Pie” will gobble up this new edition with as much enthusiasm as the children in the book slurped up the alligator’s soup!
Barb Janicek is a Children’s Librarian with Kitchener Public Library, in Kitchener, ON.
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