I have finally read the prequel and sequel to A Girl and Her Gator by Sean Bryan and Tom Murphy. Having read the entire trilogy (perhaps with more to come), I feel like my life is complete. These are some of my most favorite picture books of all time.
The genius started in 2005 with A Boy and His Bunny when a boy woke up with a bunny on his head. Boy and Bunny decided to roll with it. Stranger things had probably happened somewhere so why get upset over something so minor?
Boy’s mother (I call him this because unlike the other series characters, the original Boy has no name although he does take the time to name Bunny Fred) was less adaptible.
You know, I hate to tell you, but it’s got to be said. You have a great big bunny on your head!
This launches a lecture from both Boy and Fred on how rabbits peacefully coexisting on one’s head in no way limits one’s mobility or ability. You could read a book, lead an army, indeed even ride a bobsled with a bunny on your head. Thus enlightened, the mother recants and admits that Fred does look kind of cool on her son’s head.
Her opinion was immediately thrown into question, however, when Boy’s sister walked in with a small alligator on her head. (You will of course recognize my beloved Claire and Pierre from A Girl and Her Gator.)
I like these books because they are simple yet complex. The story is written and rhyme and could arguably be seen as a commentary on tolerance and the fact that different does not mean diminished. At the same time, the illustrations are presented on clean (usually white backgrounds) which makes them pop.
In terms of reading aloud, the book is large enough that the minimalist illustrations can be seen clearly. While entertaining, the text is not so dense as to bore children (or tire the reader). Really, aside from Boy not having a name–a fact that kind of made me crazy when I realized it–A Boy and His Bunny is just as entertaining as its sequel A Girl and Her Gator although the latter remains superior simply because of Claire and its general pinkness. After reading the sequel the fun continues in A Bear and His Boy.