Anita Turnage (Author); Kim Sponaugle (Illustrator)
Halo Publishing International (2021)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (01/2022)
I love being turned on to a new book series my grandchildren will absolutely love. Thankfully, they do love books and those memorable characters they want to see again and again. This is a series by an award-winning author they refer to as “Nana T” who has published two ahead of this particular title, and I rushed to get those after reading this one to the grandkids!
In this story, readers meet up with Grumpy; he’s a Great Blue Heron who has his own book in this series at the beginning. He’s not the star of this one, but he definitely plays a pivotal role. You see, Ella Grace and Haden are the grandchildren of Nana T who they love to visit at the beach. When they’re with her, they ride in her golf cart around various areas, enjoy themselves, and they always come home with a story for their parents that involves some true excitement. This visit is no different; on this trip, they come across alligators resting in various locations as they ride by them. Nana T warns that these are hungry gators; after all, they might be eyeing their dinner. (No, don’t get frightened.) First, they go by a bunch of turtles resting on a bank near the gators and talk about if they’re in trouble or not. But are they?
Then, Ella Grace and Haden go further down their favorite path in the golf cart with Nana T, called “Alligator Alley” (which is highly fitting). They go over a small wooden bridge and see the home of the Great Blue Heron. Unfortunately, they also see a hungry gator keeping watch on Grumpy. Will they be able to save the heron who looks completely unconcerned about what’s floating up behind him? Well…you have to read the book!
I want to give a couple of “shouts out” of love and respect. “Nana T” (AKA: Anita Turnage), after reading your bio and learning that after almost three decades in the corporate world, you took a step back to enjoy and decided to share the stories you’d told your beloved grandchildren with the rest of our kids—I wish to commend you. When I sat down and read this to my beloved duo, they were thrilled to meet up with Ella Grace and Haden and learn all about Grumpy, the gators, and so much more. The illustrator, Kim Sponaugle, also deserves compliments. She perfectly presented “Nana T” and her gang, and the colors were vibrant and engaging throughout.
If readers wish to learn about “Hops,” the tree frog that lives in Nana T’s backyard garden, that looks like a jungle to children’s eyes; or they wish to learn more about Grumpy and his life, parents and teachers can go to www.nanattales.com to learn about them all. You’ll even learn that for this gator book, a portion of the proceeds are being donated to SCUTE (South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts) to aid in the protection of sea turtles along the SC Coast. This is a job truly well done. “5-Stars!”