Twins Mia and Matt can't wait to get to their uncle's summer cottage and find out what animal will be the star of their vacation. Uncle Orlando is the best animal trainer in the country for movies and television. Last time, they helped him train a group of pigs to sing.
This year turns out to be a challenge — get an alligator, the slowest and laziest animal on the planet, to dance! All Nestor the Gator will do for Orlando is bathe in the sun. Will the twins get bitten, or will Matt's breakdancing skills help Nestor learn some moves?
Suddenly, a strange thing happens — the gator starts making a sculpture out of mud and grass. What is he up to? Mia and Matt are in for a surprise! The alligator turns out to be female, and soon thirty baby alligators, nesting in the sculpture, hatch from their eggs.close this panel
Chapter 1Already it was almost time to leave for Blackfly Lake. For once, the time had flown by. I was busy with my final tests and my job as director of the year-end festival at school.My brother Matt had choreographed a hip-hop dance for the show. His group was a big hit. Matt had a posse of girls following him around, including Eloise, my best friend.From my bedroom I could hear Uncle Orlando singing. He was delighted to be moving back to the country for the summer, knowing he'd be with his charming sweetheart, Maria.Finally I was ready to go, but Matt was still talking on the phone. I listened at the door. Hmmm, he was talking to Eloise."Sure, you can call me at the cottage. Didn't Mia give you the number?"I hadn't even thought of giving her the number, so I felt a bit guilty. But on the other hand, she never asked me for it!I opened the door a crack to spy on Matt. I don't know what Eloise said to him, but he suddenly blushed, stammered and hung up.I walked in, pretending I had just got there."Time to get ready, Mr. Popularity!"Matt wasn't listening. He didn't even know I was there. He walked over to the closet and pulled out his suitcase. In three minutes and forty-five seconds, he was packed and ready to go.When we got into the back seat of the car, he still hadn't opened his mouth."Are you all right, Matt?" asked Orlando."What? Yeah?"Orlando and I were not so sure, but we let it drop. Matt was definitely in some other zone. He wasn't himself. What had Eloise done to him?***By the time we got to the cottage, Matt was more or less back to normal. We were both eager to find out what animal we would be spending time with this summer.Uncle Orlando is a top animal wrangler for television and movies. Every summer, a new animal has a starring role in our summer vacation!Matt and I raced to the barn, trying to guess what we would find there."I bet it's a gazelle!" I gasped as I galloped."No! A lion!" roared Matt, running along beside me.We opened the massive wooden doors to the barn. Surprise! It was empty. Total silence reigned.Disappointed, we trudged back to the car. Orlando had a mischievous look on his face."This year, kids," he announced, "we're raising the animals at a different location.""Where?" demanded Matt.Orlando nodded in the direction of the pond."I know! I know!" cried Matt.Then he started hopping around, yelling "Ribbit! Ribbit!"Orlando managed to keep a straight face as he shook his head no. We all headed over to the pond. I prayed we wouldn't be raising leeches.Matt totally flipped out when he saw the strange and enormous beast."Wow! An alligator!"I was not so excited. An alligator? What could you train an alligator to do? And I wondered — do alligators bite?
ANNIE LANGLOIS has worked in children's literature for more than ten years, first as a librarian and then as the art director for publisher La courte échelle. She recently completed a doctorate in children's literature at Sorbonne-Nouvelle University in Paris.close this panel
Langlois provides young readers with a positive example to emulate: a young girl whose commitment to a project is ultimately achieved and admired by loved ones. ....Mia, Matt and the Lazy Gator bestows young readers with the hopefulness to reach their desired goals. I would recommend Langlois' early reader for both school and public libraries. Recommended.
...an easy read for a student needing some action and picture support to keep interested. Recommended.