oliver and his alligator

Oliver and His Alligator by Paul Schmid

Oliver sometimes isn’t as brave as he’d like to be, and that is especially true on the first day of school.  So he headed to the swamp and picked up an alligator, “just in case things got rough.”  When Oliver got to school a woman who was not his mother greeted him and asked his name.  In his panic, Oliver couldn’t remember his name, but he could say “munch, munch!” and the alligator ate the lady.  A similar thing happened when a little girl in the class asked Oliver what he loved.  Oliver wanted to answer and even had a great reply, but he found that he could only say “munch, munch!” and the alligator ate the girl.  As Oliver steadily had his alligator munch his classmates, the classroom got much quieter and lonelier.  But what is a boy to do when everyone has been eaten?

Schmid tells this story with a wonderful matter-of-fact tone that leaves readers shocked at first but then delighting in this clever answer to the worries of the first day of school.  I guarantee a wonderful stunned moment if you share this book aloud, and then a rush of nervous but genuine glee at it all. 

The book is cleanly designed with very simple lines that allow the humor of the situation to really shine.  The simplicity is beautiful and entirely modern thanks to Oliver’s oversized sweater and mop of hair. 

Beautiful, clever and a joy to share aloud, this book is riotously funny and oh so true.  A great addition to starting-school shelves.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.