Who Needs Love?

Who Needs Love? illus. by Laura Park. 48p. Random/Robin Corey. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-375-85585-6; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-95585-3; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97503-4.
K-Gr 2—Simon and Scarlett, two young alligators from Pokey Marsh, are dear friends; in fact, everyone assumes they'll be married someday. But their ambitions, and a "rotten-to-the-core" witch, divide them. Simon wants to see the world and Scarlett dreams of singing on stage. The witch has no use for love or for either of the gators. Along the way to a happy ending, a giant cypress tree tells a riddle, Scarlett loses her wallet, crabs fall in love, and Simon is turned into a donkey. The cypress tree is reduced to a bare patch of scorched earth. The witch loses a silver dollar. This is not a simple story. In fact, there are so many details and distractions that the intended audience is in question. Park's ink-and-watercolor illustrations are attention-grabbing, awash in color and personality, but they might not succeed in getting five- or six-year-olds to focus on the convoluted plot.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY

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