Later, Gator by Lawrence Yep
Finished: Jul. 24 2009
First Published: 1995
Genre: children, realistic fiction
The alligator was Mother's fault.
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo. He likes animal stories and I like Laurence Yep. Should be a perfect combo for us to enjoy.
Comments: Teddy is the eldest brother in a Chinese-American family and Bobby is his little brother. Bobby is always so happy about everything; it gets on Teddy's nerves. Why can't Bobby be a pain like little brothers are supposed to be?. Teddy does the usual "big brother stuff" trying to get Bobby in trouble, pushing his weight around and buying him socks for his birthday. Then comes Bobby's eighth birthday and Mother asks Teddy why he is so mean, why he can't buy his brother something nice for his birthday, doesn't he love his brother, he should by his brother a pet and shows him an advertisement in the paper for turtles for sale at the pet shop and to cap it off she has already bought a turtle home. Once at the pet store Teddy can't help himself, Mother didn't actually say 'turtle', she said 'pet', so he comes home with a pet alligator and thus starts a series of incidents that have all of Chinatown talking.
A very well-written, humourous story that really had us giggling but also a story that has several themes running under the surface. It shows the family dynamics and cultural experiences of a multigenerational American-Chinese family to non-Chinese readers, explores the traditional non-demonstrative relationship of a Chinese father and son and how that slowly changes to show outward affection, explores sibling relationships and how they can show love for one another and finally while the story is humourous the the inevitable ending illustrates that exotic animals are not meant to be kept as pets. A small book that packs quite a punch.
It was a good read aloud for us. Ds just thought it was hilarious and was intrigued by the Chinese family life. He identified with Bobby, being close in age with him and found the thought of having an alligator as a pet exciting but right from the beginning knew it was a bad idea for a pet. Myself, I am a fan of Laurence Yep. He is a talented writer who writes across different genres and his books are wonderful for showcasing the Chinese experience whether it be historical or in the semi-present, such as this one. Recommended.
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