When I started writing this story it was just for fun and just for me. Then a few kids read parts and wanted to know how it ended. That lead to my wondering how it ended, too. So I had to find out. This was my most "by the seat of my pants" book I've ever written, so it has taken me some time.
While I was trying to figure out that ending, I did some research into alligators and found lots of interesting facts. I thought I'd share some of them.
Did you know
- alligators crept onto the planet during the Cenozoic era, a couple of years ago? When the dinosaurs died off, alligators didn't. I'd say they have survival down.
- their eyes glow red under light? That's how they're counted--at night. Talk about scary.
- they were near extinction, but now they thrive in the SOUTHEASTERN U.S. swamps and wetlands?
- they're ambush predators, so they do lots of stealthy stuff, like, pretend to be water hyacinths?
- they'll eat anything, but they're really keen on marshmallows? I feel a joke coming on. Why do they love marshmallows? Because they live in the marsh. (Terrible, right? Sorry.)
Other writers have used alligators in stories for kids. This one is for the really young pre-reader by our late, but forever great Maurice Sendak.
Alligators All Around
Here's another author who seems amused by alligators. Mercer Mayer wrote a bedtime story for the little old set. His book, There's an Alligator Under My Bed, seems to have brought out the ham in this writer.
When I was a kid I loved stories about animals: Bambi, My Friend Flicka, The Black Stallion, all the James Herriot books. I never did care much about alligator stories (Captain Hook's enemy being the exception-or was that guy a crocodile?), and here I am the author of a book with these reptiles as major characters. What were your favorite animal stories growing up? Do you know of other books with alligators as featured characters?