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TYRONE THE TERRIBLE, The Chameleon Who Decided He Was an Alligator Review by Destiny MawsonJan Lis
Tyrone the Terrible, The Chameleon Who Decided He Was an Alligator is a beginning chapter book written by Jan Lis. It retails on her website for $9.99. This short 46-page chapter book is geared towards ages 7-12, although younger children could enjoy it as a read-aloud.
Taking place in the rich setting of the Bayou, Tyrone is the “tiniest piece of nothing you ever did see.” Because of his small demeanor, none of the other Bayou critters want him on their team. Tyrone is lonely and longs for friends.
One day, while bemoaning his situation, a squirrel named Junior overhears and offers to help. Tyrone and Junior set off to begin training to help Tyrone build strength and muscles. Junior is confident the other animals will want Tyrone on their team once he bulks up.
Unfortunately, Tyrone’s new muscles also come with a new bullying attitude. Tyrone decides he’s just as big and bad as Old Sly, the meanest alligator in the Bayou. He goes around scaring and being mean to the other animals.
It takes no time at all for his new reputation of Tyrone the Terrible to travel around the Gnarly Tree Bend. When Tyrone shows up hopeful to play baseball, the other animals all run away. Tyrone realizes he is no better off now than he was before since he is still alone.
Tyrone goes off to ponder his predicament and finds himself unexpectedly laying on Old Sly instead of a log. Old Sly decides to teach Tyrone a lesson and captures him in his mouth. Tyrone pleads with Sly not to swallow him and realizes how his actions must have made others feel.
After promising to apologize to everyone, Sly spits Tyrone out on the shore. The next day, Tyrone apologizes to everyone. He and his friend, Junior, realize to make friends, you must first be a friend.
I loved the rich wordplay and imagery Lis uses throughout the book. It brings to life the deep south.
The characters are easy for children to relate to and there is a clear sense of right and wrong. Children will be able to recognize their actions have consequences, the importance of being kind, and to make friends they need to first be a friend.
My children enjoyed the story of Tyrone and the other animals of Gnarly Tree Bend. My first-grader was able to read the story on her own and then answer the discussion questions at the end.
There are many teaching points throughout this short chapter book, which makes it a good addition to a home library.
Tyrone the Terrible, The Chameleon Who Decided He Was an Alligator is a book children will enjoy and one to include on your bookshelf.
-Product review by Destiny Mawson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2020