Gator by Randy Cecil.
Gator loved being a carousel animal. He loved the lights, the music and the wind, but most of all he liked the laughter. But then times changed and children weren’t as interested in riding the carousel. Without the music, lights and laughter, Gator fell deeply asleep. When he couldn’t sleep any longer, he climbed off the carousel and went out into the world. He ventures through a dark forest and across a bridge when he hears laughter coming from a zoo. But he doesn’t find anything there to make him feel welcome. Just when he is about to despair, a man with a small boy recognizes him from the carousel. As he leads the man and boy back to the forgotten amusement park, a crowd starts following them. The laughter, light and music are back!
This is a lovely picture book that speaks to the fact that children still enjoy the old-fashioned pleasures of life. Gator is a charming, whimsical figure with his wide eyes and hole in his heart. This is especially true when he is contrasted with the real alligators at the zoo. I also enjoy the rather strange looking humans in the story with their gangly arms and flattened heads. The story itself shines here. There is a sweet rhythm to the sentences where the wording reflects the mood of the storyline. And the little button on the end of the book is simply lovely.
Recommended as a lap book for children ages 4-7. It will not project well to a group, but would work with a small class. It is quietly amusing rather than rambunctious, so it would also make a perfect bedtime read.