A vain, toothy alligator learns a lesson.
Alan is an alligator who thinks very well of himself. Every morning he shines his scales, sharpens his claws, and, most importantly, brushes his impressively “big, scary teeth” (each act of preening is shown sequentially). After his primping rituals, Alan scares the small jungle creatures by snapping his teeth and making various scary noises. Jarvis effectively communicates the jungle setting through a textured, layered green background. The big reveal comes at the end of Alan’s fright-filled day, when readers learn his lovely chompers are false. Though this discovery—given that Alan’s love of his beautiful, dangerous teeth is so evident—may elicit some laughs, the rest of the story falls flat. What remains is predictable: Alan’s teeth are stolen, he’s laughed to scorn by the creatures who previously feared him, and eventually has his teeth restored to him when he promises a sea change. His lisping, toothless speech is, sadly, played for laughs. A strength of the illustrations lies in the ability to convey emotion (notably Alan’s sad silhouettes after losing his teeth). However, the humor is both lacking and reliant on stereotype, and the story’s predictability makes it an also-ran.
Lackluster. (Picture book. 3-6)