Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak

Alligators All Around is one of the quartet of tiny books in Maurice Sendak’s charming Nutshell Library, and probably my favourite of the four — although, that’s not to say that the other three are not equally wonderful.


Starring an anthropomorphic family of alligators, the book takes us on an alphabetical and alliterative journey of their seemingly regular lives, beginning with A-alligators all around, which introduces the trio, followed by B-bursting balloon, C-catching cold, and so on.


Thanks to the author’s whimsical sense of humour and quirky illustrations, however, the snapshots feel familiar and relatable, yet are kept from being remotely humdrum, and even pack a few astutely observed and heartwarming surprises. It’s also testimony to Sendak’s brilliance that these books still feel as fresh, original and relevant even after more than half a century — it’s hard to believe that they were first published in 1962!

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