HOW THE ALLIGATOR MISSED BREAKFAST by Galway Kinnell

HOW THE ALLIGATOR MISSED BREAKFAST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A meandering sort of shaggy-dog story, except that here it is Mr. Prickle the porcupine who is shaggy--the result of various trimmings by a barber with hedge clippers--and Elp the alligator who wanders through one standard joke after another in his search for breakfast. Kinnell begins by pulling the rug from under a common ploy: Rabbit Miss Hiphop, sitting on a rock on the riverbank, finds herself surrounded by water, and the moving rock turns out to be an alligator. But instead of eating her, the alligator delivers her to shore, and she invites him home for breakfast. Then comes an episode with Elp in a noodle role: he comes upon an automobile but can't figure out how to carry it home, so he swallows it and carries it in his tail. Before the story ends, we encounter a strolling bathtub; two eggs jump out of a frying pan and run away; there are several who's-on-first exchanges based on the alligator's name (""Elp! Elp!"" and ""Hey-elp!"" cry animals both in distress and in greeting); and everyone gets prickle-prackled as a result of mistaking the oddly trimmed porcupine for a chair, a shoe, or a hat. It's all off-the-wall and dippy-whimsical, but it's freer and funnier than the title and the obvious pictures would suggest.

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1982
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin