It should come as a surprise to no one that Gator Dad is a charming tale about a gator dad who spends the day romping and reading with his three little gators. A note at the back explains that the story was inspired by the author/illustrator Brian Lies’s experience as a male minority at the playground. This background informs the story in terms of both content and style. Gator Dad does some things with the kids that are clearly masculine in tone, like joyfully smelling food that’s gone bad or tearing the house apart.
The story starts with “Let’s squeeze the day” and completes the circle by ending with “Let’s squeeze tomorrow too.” The cold-blooded characters display nothing but warmth for each other as Gator Dad leads them on adventures at the park and at home, including plenty of reading. Lies’ sumptuous illustrations masterfully use shadows to create dark without being scary, and make the characters’ warm yellow eyes pop on the page.
HMH Books for Young Readers