The Almost Animals by Hugh Holman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A gloriously quirky tale about a crocogator searching for acceptance in Elsewhere. Everyone has heard of crocodiles. Everyone has also heard of alligators. But have you heard of a crocogator? How about an orangupanda or a deerkat? Or a rhinuffalo? These, and other marvellously peculiar creatures, are THE AMINALS! They are animals, they are just a bit mixed up. Angle is a crocogator. But she has a problem. She doesn't fit in with the other aminals. The thing is, a crocodile looks rather like an alligator, and an alligator looks rather like a crocodile. So she doesn't really look like an aminal at all. Angle decides that she must leave Nowhere, the cliff-side village of the aminals, and venture into Elsewhere. But does Angle belong anywhere? She must encounter aminals, animals, and even a furry boulder to find out...
When I was contacted by the author about the possibility of reviewing his book I knew my class would love it, so agreed and I am so glad I did. I read this most afternoons for around 10 minutes, so took quite a while to finish but the children loved discussing what had happened previously and make predictions.
This story is about the aminals, these are creatures made from two animals, they live in Nowhere, a place for strange animals to go and live in harmony. Angle is a Crocogator, half crocodile and half alligator. She feels though she looks normal and doesn't belong in Nowhere, she makes it her mission to go and find the animals and live with others like her.
This story is about accepting who you are and not judge everyone on first sight. I read this to a year 2 class and they all got this from the story. They also picked up on the fact that sometimes it may not make you happy to move and live somewhere new. (A case of the grass is always greener.)
This is a really fun book and one that I would recommend to others, the children also have recommend it to other children as they really enjoyed it. They said they would like to read more from this author.
I asked the children to review the book and there were some points they didn't like - They said that they didn't like the illustrations, they were too simple and a little boring. Some of the children said that they thought aspects of the book were a little scary, the baboon part in particular. (Maybe that was just the voice I used to read it in?) They also said they didn't like the way the alligators behaved towards Angle and that they should have accepted her.
So here are the parts of the book they thought were great - They loved the names of the characters, they thought they were fun and had a go at creating their own names for aminals once the book was over. They were pleased that Angle went home and realised she had the perfect home.
So overall they really enjoyed the book and as stated would love to read more about Angle and her friends. They way the story was written was really good. There was a high level of description in the book and words for the children to pick out and try and use in their own writing. They really enjoyed the book and so did I.
I would like to thank the author for sending this in exchange for an honest review. The only reason the book hasn't got 5* is due to the points raised by the children above. They also rated this book.