Snip Snap!: What's That?

by Mara Bergman and Nick Maland

“When the alligator came creeping . . . creeping . . . creeping up the stairs... read more

“When the alligator came creeping . . . creeping . . . creeping up the stairs . . . were the children scared?” With a build-up like that, and a glimpse of the creature’s shadowy profile, teeth clearly visible, how could they NOT be scared? And, indeed, with a turn of the page, the question is answered: “YOU BET THEY WERE!” As the alligator draws nearer, we’re asked again and again whether the children were scared, and each time given the same emphatic affirmative answer. It’s only after a wordless, double-page spread overflowing with a head-on view of the grinning beast that the tables turn. The children decide enough’s enough, and send the reptile packing. “And was the alligator scared? YOU BET IT WAS!” Still big, but no longer menacing, the alligator is last seen diving down a manhole. Just the right degree of satisfying scariness for preschoolers, this is a book that will be demanded again and again, with young listeners chiming in on the repeated refrain. Bergman has concocted a perfect blend of mounting suspense with a reassuring finale, and Maland’s comic illustrations balance the tension of the text, creating a comfortable layer of safety. Highly Commended, 2006 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 3–6)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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