Monday, May 6, 2013

MMGM: Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie

Date Published: July 1, 2012
Genre: Middle grade, fantasy,
Outskirts Press, Inc.
Themes: fantasy, friendship, magic, ecology, mystery, wildlife
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / Barnes & Noble 

About The Book: Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town's bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he's up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn't the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete's guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find the witches and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.

First Line: Pete chewed on what was left of his right thumb nail, stared up at the round-faced clock above Aunt Lizzy's and watched it tick off his last minutes of freedom.

What Others Are Saying:  "McKenzie pens a swampy middle-grade story full of humor, hauntings, quirky characters and a mystery that continues to develop to the very end.

"The folksy diction and lyrical, verb-heavy storytelling will leave readers turning the pages all the way to the end, where big surprises await and the real villains are revealed. A short, fun story that will excite both young and old imaginations." —Kirkus Reviews

Book Bloggers Weigh In:
Annie McMahon
There's A Body In The Library
Teach Mentor Texts

What I Thought: I always like to share when I find a great boys read. The action is very fun with lots of twists and turns. I really liked the messages of environmental responsibility and respecting habitats. It was difficult imagining talking alligators but I believe that is just my own weakness in the imagination department. It was a fun read.

My Analysis:
1. POV: Third-person limited omniscience: participant
2. 210 pages
3. The Hook: Mysterious things begin happening, the crowning incident being a mysterious call telling him that said, "Today is the day, Peter Riley."
4. Inciting event: A mansion appears in the vacant lot.
6. Voice: In spite of the fact it is in third person, Pete's voice comes through in the way he describes things and his thoughts.

About The Author: 
C. Lee McKenzie

Who:  In her other life--the one before she began writing for teens and younger readers--C. Lee was a teacher and administrator at California State University, San Jose. Her field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication has carried her to a lot of places in the world to explore different cultures and languages. She can say, “Where’s the toilet?” and “I’m lost!” in at least five languages and two dialects.

Her idea of a perfect day is one or all of the following: starting a new novel, finishing writing a blockbuster novel, hiking on a misty morning trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains, saying Namaste after a great yoga practice, sipping a cappuccino topped at a bustling café, reading in front of a fire with snow outside, swimming in an ocean someplace.

Check out the other MMGM reviewers in my sidebar!

Next Week: Joy of Apex by Napatsi Folger


  1. Great review. I follow Lee's blog and this is definitely on my TBR list.

  2. I read this one last summer and I loved it! It is a great book for boys and I know girls will enjoy it too. Lee is such a wonderful author and I always love to visit her blog. :)

    Thanks for sharing. Great review!

  3. Bless my Google Alerts for telling me this was here! And thank you for the mention, Pam. Glad you could get over my talking alligators to enjoy the story. It was a stretch, but I figured if Disney could do, so could I. :-)


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