A hungry alligator chows down on 10 sets of unwary swamp denizens—with, eventually, predictable results.
The heavy-duty pull-tab in the back cover is going to get a real workout here, as it makes the cheery gator’s jaw (visible above the top of each page) snap loudly shut to a chorus of “chomp, chomp, chomp!” on one “shiny, blue” fish, followed by two “furry, brown” otters, three “fluffy, white” cranes, and so on up to 10 “shimmering, purple” hummingbirds. As the adjectival insertions hint, each brightly smiling new quarry in the colorful cartoon illustrations comes with not only a number to count, but a textured tactile patch to touch (each scene also features a few artfully placed die-cut holes). Likely deflecting at least most parental frets about implicit or explicit violence in the rhymed and patterned scenario, Van Fleet arranges his figures so there’s no actual eating to be seen. As it eats, the increasingly rotund crocodile sprouts rainbow stripes so it looks rather like a striped pool toy—and when it at the end chomps on one tiny fish too many, it proceeds to belch out all the unharmed victims in a mighty foldout explosion. “Excuse me!” Inconspicuous labels on most of the flora and fauna dish up further nibbles of natural history.
A bang-up banquet certain to draw demands for repeat courses and sturdy enough to survive them. (Pop-up board book. 2-4)