cover image The Three Little Gators

The Three Little Gators

Helen Ketteman. Albert Whitman & Company, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-7824-7

Readers-particularly from the Lone Star State-who can't get enough of the original Three Little Pigs may enjoy this Texan transformation from the team behind Armadilly Chili. Ketteman's story features three gap-toothed young gators who outwit the Big-bottomed Boar, but the tag lines are not quite as memorable as the original wolf's huffing and puffing. When he's refused entry to the gators' houses, the boar threatens, ""Then I'll wiggle my rump with a bump, bump, bump and smash your house!"" The neon gators are differentiated only by a straw hat, a baseball cap, and a pair of glasses (which naturally belong to the smartest gator, who builds his house out of rocks). Ketteman adds a subtle-if somewhat didactic-message about sloth by having the gators scorn each others' building materials (""Bad choice.... Rocks are heavy and too much work""). Still, folksy details in both text (""Third Gator ran faster than a fox after a muskrat"") and art (a bottle of boar sauce sits next to the fireplace, as the boar earns some grill marks) should entertain. Ages 4-8.