cover image Alligator in the Basement

Alligator in the Basement

Robert Keeshan, Bob Keeshan. Fairview Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-925190-90-1

Keeshan (Family Fun Activity Book) of Captain Kangaroo fame wades into familiar waters in this paper-over-board book, employing a potentially threatening beast to encourage kids to use--and remain in control of--their imaginations. When a hissing alligator crawls out of the washing machine, Granddad isn't at all intimidated, even though his grandson, the narrator, is terrified. Granddad has a suggestion: ""Just tell him to go away. He's your alligator in the basement as much as mine."" An additional attempt to show the power of creative thought produces a silly scene in which the boy meets another basement dweller, a monkey wearing a baseball shirt, the logo of which the child can change at whim. For all the talk about imagination, the art, blandly and cartoonishly rendering the narrator as relentlessly wide-eyed, lacks the inventiveness or vision that might have salvaged this meager, shopworn tale. Ages 5-9. (May)