Alligator Slim decides to swap the blues for jazz, trading the swamp for the city.
He finds a hotel and auditions at a club called The Zoo. The crowd loves Alligator’s sound, but while the musicians relax after their gig, jealous Weasel steals the gator’s sax. After a fruitless search for his instrument, his money low, Alligator decides to head back to the swamp and the blues. Swinging by The Zoo for one last listen, he spots Weasel on stage. “He screeched and he blared and the audience moaned. / ‘He’s hurting our ears with that bad saxophone!’ / ‘That sax is all right!’ said Alligator Slim. / He walked up to Weasel and snatched the sax from him.” Alligator plays, reigniting the crowd, and gracefully accepts Weasel’s apology. Alligator Slim’s success reaches the swamp critters, who arrive cityside to hear him play. Pittman’s upbeat verses occasionally settle for an awkward rhyme or some bumpy scansion. “Alligator Slim was in a terrible bind! / The days went by, but his sax he did not find.” Bailey’s digital compositions pair Alligator’s glowing green with the deep purple-browns of club crowds and dark, cobbled streets lit with lamps. Her pictures teem with busy, anthropomorphic animals preoccupied in amusing ways. Pittman provides a pithy note on jazz; Bailey’s spot illustration shows Alligator’s quartet heading out on the road.
Tuneful. (Picture book. 4-8)