Welcome to KidLit Gems!
Join us in a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.
July’s theme: Reptilian Tales
IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON’T!
Text & Illustrations © 2015, Elise Parsley
See our favoritism disclaimer toward the bottom.
If you bring an alligator anyway, she’ll tell you that alligators are trouble! ~ IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON’T!
If you ever want to cry, DON’T read this book! It’s hilarious.
Parsley’s acutely aware of the funny bone and has created a main character, Magnolia, that can manage all of her illustrative wit. The delightfully adventurous Magnolia all but grabs your hand as she ventures into unknown waters by bringing an alligator to school for show and tell. You will wish you were in Magnolia’s classroom, so you too, could join in on the fun. Parsley’s attention to detail shines in every pixel of her artwork as she pokes fun at the school day rituals. You will find yourself poring over every illustrated page of this frank narrative time and again, unless of course, you get gobbled up!
Yeah, if you ever want to cry yourself to sleep, DON’T turn the pages of this book.
By now, of course, you’ll wish you’d brought a hollow stick or a bird’s nest or some sparkly rocks for show-and-tell instead of an alligator. By now, you’d rather have some dirt than an alligator. IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON’T!
Magnolia and her alligator never get old. That’s because their creator, Elise Parsley, made them so darn funny. As you turn the pages, follow the paper airplane; admire the colors, textures, and shadowing; read the names on the lockers and the facts on the blackboard; notice the classroom diversity, giggle at the alligator’s shenanigans; and count Magnolia’s teeth. You might accidentally learn something. I sure did.
Like the paint on page thirteen, Parsley mixes humor, mischief, and a dangerous supporting character with the universal school theme and stirs it to a satisfying circular end. Haven’t we all experienced the anxiety of show-and-tell? Haven’t we all feared that teacher?
Everything you see is a part of Parsley’s charming life and imagination. She even designed the complementary font. That’s why we think she’s the bomb. And that’s why we know you’ll love this book.
Anyone who disagrees deserves three checks by their name and an underline.
Really, this was everyone’s Gem, but Kristi’s a better arm wrestler.
Not from us. We’re too invested. You see, we’re Elise’s critique partners–and we love her character creations like they were family. That makes us their crazy aunts, of sorts.
Take her soon-to-be firstborn, Magnolia, for instance. We’ve been with Elise since Magnolia’s conception. Okay, maybe that sounds a little weird, but If You Ever Want To Bring An Alligator started with a funny picture–one not quite as polished as the postcard version above, but almost. It made us snort and say, “This is a great seed for a picture book.” That was the non-steamy conception.
Following this stage we fed Elise popcorn to appease her quirky “with child/character” cravings.
We monitored Magnolia’s embryonic stages of revisions, queries, and conferences. Then, we heard Magnolia’s heartbeat when an editor at the Fall 2013 Iowa SCBWI Conference told Elise that she had a breakout character.
We held Elise’s hand during her labor pains, when she queried Steven Malk of Writers House. And we held a baby shower when Mr. Malk offered representation and got her the amazing three-book deal with Little, Brown & Company.
And now we pace the floor, anticipating Magnolia’s birth. (You’ve probably surmised: It’s a girl! Oh–and an alligator.) Elise’s IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AND ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON’T debuts July 7. We can’t wait until Elise introduces you to our feisty new niece.
Watch for Anna’s gem next week!
We want to hear from you!
What is your favorite children’s book featuring a cold-blooded vertebrate?