If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't

Last updated Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Author: Elise Parsley
Date of Publication: 2015
ISBN: 0316376574
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2016

Synopsis: Note to self: If your teacher tells you to bring something from nature for show-and-tell, she does not want you to bring an alligator! But nothing will stop Magnolia, who's determined to have the best show-and-tell of all -- until her reptilian rapscallion starts getting her into some major trouble. Now it's up to Magnolia to find a way to send this troublemaker home -- but what could possibly scare an alligator away?

Note to readers:
•  This is a funny book with lots of opportunities to be expressive and to talk about what's happening in the illustrations.
•  The book has phrases that stand out because of the way they're written (alligator are trouble for Pete's sake) that lend themselves to being read chorally together with the students. Encourage the students to repeat them after you with lots of expression! You can also point to the words one at a time as you read them together.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is show-and-tell? Does your class have show-and-tell?
•  Have you ever brought something in for show-and-tell? What was it?
•  Is it a good idea to bring an alligator for show-and-tell? Why or why not?


•  nature - the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations
•  origami - the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures
•  principal - the educator who has executive authority for a school
•  mischief - playful misbehavior or troublemaking, especially in children

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How does Magnolia feel about bringing the alligator to school for show-and-tell? (Ask at the beginning of the book, then 2-3 times later on to show how her feelings change.)
•  What type of things should you bring to show and tell?
•  What does it mean for Magnolia's name to get written on the board? To get checks drawn next to it?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a paper bag alligator hand puppet that you can bring to school.
•  Draw your school and classroom with you, your new teacher and classmates.
•  Make a THANK YOU card for your teacher.
•  See examples on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/september-2016-back-to-school/

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!