Sunday, October 21, 2012

Alligators Overhead

Title: Alligators Overhead
Author: C. Lee McKenzie
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc. 
Publication Date: July, 2012
Genre/Format: Fantasy/E-Book
Goodreads Summary: Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors . . . unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town’s bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he’s up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn’t the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion, materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete’s guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find his aunt and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.
What I Think: Alligators Overhead begins as you meet Pete Riley, a 12-year-old who is always getting in trouble, but it isn't always his fault. He soon begins to learn that there is a lot more going on in the swampy town of his than just a bunch of pranks. 
     In a book that starts out as a seemingly realistic fiction novel about a troublesome young boy turns out to be a fantasy novel where the real problem is the lack of respect for the Ornofree Swamp that surrounds the sleep town of Hadleyville. And suddenly the town's bad boy is the only person that can save the town. 
     At first I was a bit taken aback by the switch of genres- I didn't see it coming- but once I realized what the true focus was of the book, I jumped right in and ended up really enjoying the book. It is like a Hiaasen book, but with witches with alligators for familiars. 
Read Together: Grades 4 to 8
Read Alone: Grades 5 to 8
Read With: Carl Hiaasen middle grade novels, Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby, Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst, My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Snatch of Text: "Since his mother died, there were only two storytellers who could conjure the pictures so that he could almost see them. Aunt Lizzy was one. Miss Gladys was the other. There were nine more women in town who called themselves tellers, but their stories didn't jump out and grab him by his shirt like Aunt Lizzy's or Miss Glady's did." (p. 13) 
Mentor Text for: Characterization, Suspense, Allusion
Writing Prompts: Pete all of a sudden finds himself having to do something that he doesn't think he is capable of. Is there something that you have done that you didn't think was possible until you did it? 
Topics Covered: Ecology, Deforestation, Choices
I *heart* It:
**Thank you to C. Lee McKenzie for providing a copy for review**

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