Gabby & Gator
written by James Burks
When Gator’s a baby, he’s shipped in a box to a boy who sent away for his own Louisiana farm-raised pet alligator. The boy may think his new pet is fun, but his mother has other ideas. She makes her son flush Gator down the toilet.
Ten years later, Gator is still living in the sewer and eats local pets to try to silence his voracious hunger. He has his own computer and types his “Diary of a Dog Eater” on it, recording his shame and loneliness. Who said reptiles didn’t have feelings?
Meanwhile, nearby, Gabby is a human girl who’s just as lonely. She makes a to-do list for the day that includes “find someone who will accept me for who I am.”
That isn’t easy. Her nickname is “freak” and she’s bullied by the other kids, especially a football player and three blonde girls who all look exactly alike. While watching the news, she learns about recent alligator attacks and a cruel man in animal control who’s determined to stop the alligator, no matter what it takes.
Gabby also plays the tuba, and listening to the music catches Gator’s attention. He starts following Gabby and meets up with her when the football player has stolen her hat and is tormenting her. Gator scares him off and gives Gabby her hat back, which starts up their unusual friendship. Besides being different species, the juxtaposition of Gabby being a vegetarian and Gator being a relentless meat-eater is shown more than once. The little girl takes her new reptilian friend home and tries to feed him vegetables, but it isn’t long before the sadistic man from animal control has caught up with them and Gabby has to save Gator’s life.
Gabby & Gator is rated for all ages and would be particularly aimed for children. It’s cute and humorous, and the unusual friendship is a nice touch that makes it both endearing (for anyone who has had trouble making friends) and absurd (because it’s a girl and an alligator). The absurdity—and the humor in it besides—will probably get lots of laughs from children.
The book is written in graphic novel form, with one to four panels to a page. Everything is in color and the print is large, which could be helpful for younger readers.