The Alligator Wrestler

A Girls Can Do Anything Book

Children - Grade 4th-6th
38 Pages
Reviewed on 01/22/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Alligator Wrestler: A Girls Can Do Anything Book is an adventure book for children, grades 4-6, written by Carmen Petro and illustrated by Sarah Gledhill. Caitlyn loved her family’s vacations. This year, they were camping for two weeks by the Banana River in Florida. She loved exploring the coast and seeing marine life up close. Caitlyn didn’t think that going to Gator World on their ninth day there was such a great idea; it sounded too much like an educational field trip especially when the beach was right there waiting for her. When they finally got inside, Mom suggested they visit the Reptile House first of all. Caitlyn and her brothers knew her ulterior motive was to get photographs of the family, but she quickly realized Gator World wouldn’t be as boring as she had feared after all.

Carmen Petro’s The Alligator Wrestler had me just as surprised and fascinated by Gator World as Caitlyn was. I loved seeing Caitlyn smiling for the pictures as she held the giant snake’s head and remembering how she had handled a large black Emperor Scorpion at a zoo in the past. And her interactions with Casey, Reggie and Zack during the Alligator Show are inspirational. Caitlyn is curious, confident and definitely not one to get all squeamish about reptiles, snakes or even scorpions! Having her meet Casey is a great way for parents and teachers to get girls interested in STEM subjects as they start considering what they’d like to do when they grow up. Sarah Gledhill’s pen and wash illustrations work perfectly with the story. Each panel was fun and added dimension and impact to the plot. The Alligator Wrestler: A Girls Can Do Anything Book is most highly recommended.

Leiann Lynn Rose Spontaneo

At the beginning of The Alligator Wrestler: A Girls Can Do Anything Book by Carmen Petro, young Caitlyn is disappointed as her parents made Gator World part of the itinerary on their family vacation in Florida. Caitlyn thought how boring an educational stop on a vacation would be and that the water park would be better. However, the reptile house at Gator World was not boring. As they were leaving the reptile house, a Gator World employee was distributing flyers for the gator wrestling show. Right as the gator wrestling show began, the host and his assistant asked for a volunteer. They chose a young man from Ohio. Next, they asked for another volunteer. Caitlyn was ecstatic to be chosen. As part of the show, Caitlyn was almost the main attraction. In the end, you will probably not believe who the baddest and meanest gator wrestler is.

The plot of The Alligator Wrestler by Carmen Petro is cute and suspenseful. The pace is nice as the action builds slowly, such as at the beginning where innocent butterflies are attracted to her brother. The theme is as plain as can be; education on wildlife and how girls can do anything. Also, how the employees are extremely trained and emphasize to the audience not to copy the Gator World employees' performances. The characters are believable. They remind me of my childhood trips to zoos. The theme is all about teaching children about wildlife. Illustrations by Sarah Gledhill are vivid and delightful.

Amy Raines

The Alligator Wrestler: A Girls Can Do Anything Book is written by Carmen Petro and illustrated by Sarah Gledhill. Caitlin and her family are getting ready to go on vacation. The kids quickly discover that they are not going to a theme park or the beach; they are going to Gator World where they will learn all about alligators, crocodiles and several other species of wildlife that are native to Florida. Caitlin doesn’t seem to be very happy about going to Gator World because she doesn’t want to have to learn anything while she’s supposed to be having fun. While exploring Gator World, Caitlin and her family are invited, along with all the other guests, to join the Gator Wrestlers for a show. Will Caitlin get caught up in the wildlife and have fun without realizing she’s learning at the same time? Can a girl really be a Gator Wrestler? Why would anyone want to wrestle an alligator, especially a girl? What will Caitlin learn before she leaves Gator World? Would a theme park or beach have been more fun?

I loved The Alligator Wrestler: A Girls Can Do Anything Book by Carmen Petro. Caitlin and her family do and learn things that can only be experienced at Gator World. I love how little Caitlin goes from being slightly irritated about their vacation destination to being relatively okay about it then getting completely caught up in the entire experience. The illustrations by Sarah Gledhill are colorful and bright and help tell the story through the beautiful images. My favorite thing about The Alligator Wrestler is when Caitlin realizes that Casey, The Gator Wrestler, is a girl and that she had just selected Gus, the largest gator she could find, for her to wrestle. I recommend The Alligator Wrestler to anyone who likes to read. The way the author describes Gator World and the banter between those that work there will keep the reader laughing and turning the pages to find out what happens next.