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Alligator Arrived with Apples

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About the Author

Crescent Dragonwagon's books for children include Half a Moon and One Whole Star and Home Place. She's also the author of several novels, a book of poetry, and cookbooks, such as Passionate Vegetarian. With her late husband Ned Shank, she is the cofounder of the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. That's where she lives, and it can be rainy or sunny there -- sometimes both in one day. You can also visit her on the Web at, where the weather is whatever you'd like it to be. Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey have illustrated many books together -- he draws the outlines and designs the pages; she paints the illustrations. Aruego, a native of the Philippines, was a lawyer before becoming an illustrator, and now lives in New York City. Dewey was born in Chicago and also lives in New York City.


K-Gr 2 This A to Z Thanksgiving dinner arrives on wheels as alphabetical animals scoot, skate, or bicycle their foods to the feast. Even the verbs begin with the appropriate letters. Dragonwagon's choices bring problems. The text includes many foods that are outside children's experience, and they are sure to puzzle over ``potluck'' and ``pickled peaches,'' let alone ``elderberry elixir'' and ``trifle.'' And how does one describe a ``zaftig zucchini?'' Verbs such as ``imparted'' and ``kicked in'' will also be beyond children's understanding. Brightly colored illustrations are in pen-and-ink and gouache. They extend the text with such details as the animals' names on place cards at the dinner table. Animals race in against a colored backdrop while the opposite white page shows the gathering guests in various happy activities. Illustrations aren't integrated with the simple introductory and closing rhymes. When the table is empty, the text states that it is full; and when food and friends are all over the table, the words claim ``There are no scraps.'' Sophisticated vocabulary and illustrative detail limit this book to one-on-one sharing with only the most persistent child. Colorful but confusing. Jane Saliers, Highland Library, Atlanta

A menagerie of exotic partygoers introduces the alphabet as it shows up, laden with vegetarian fare, for a stupendous Thanksgiving gorge. Guests range from a dragon and deer who pedal a tandem while bringing diced dates, to an Australian wombat who has ``whipped up wild rice and walnuts with wine.'' Everyone is shown with place cards at the meal's start, which helps to identify such attendees as the iguana, llama and the quetzal. The two host pigs conclude ``we ate our way from A to Z'' as the diners contentedly doze off afterward. All the delectables are arranged in alphabetical order and labeled on a spread at the front of the book, which (like a menu) hints at the goodies to come. Aruego and Dewey's bouncy illustrations give this meal a carnival-like merriment, making this a jubilant feast for the eyes. Ages 5-8. (September)

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