For this week’s Free Friday I’ll be reviewing an old favorite of mine, There’s an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer. Best known as the author of the Little Critter books, Mayer tells the story of a young boy and his ploy to get the alligator out from under his bed. This was a favorite of mine growing up, and my grandparents kept it, along with a plastic alligator, under their bed so we always knew where to find it.
This book uses simple, very direct statements to tell the story. The unnamed hero knows there is an alligator under his bed, even though every time he looks for it, the alligator hides. His parents can’t see it, so he decides to take matters into his own hands. He goes to the kitchen to get some alligator bait, and then makes a trail of sandwiches, fruit, pie, cookies, vegetables, soda and candy from the garage to his bed. Soon the alligator comes and begins to eat the trail of food. The boy follows him and then shuts the door once the alligator is in the garage. After he goes back to his room he realizes that his dad might have some trouble the next day going to his car, so he leaves him a warning note on the door.
I’ve always really liked this book because it plays with your imagination. Every kid thinks that there is a monster under his bed, but this boy decides to take a stand and finish this alligator once and for all. I also like that we don’t know if the alligator is real or not. It could be a figment of the boy’s imagination, but something inside me loves to believe that it was real. The pictures are beautiful, with lots of attention to lines and movement. The language is simple, with straightforward sentences, so this book is definitely for younger children. There is not a lot of text on each page, so it would be a good book for younger children to practice their reading skills with. Overall this book is a fun story that captures the imagination, highly recommend it!
– Mary Nobles Hancock