They say you should never put your head inside an alligator’s mouth…we think we’re willing to make an exception for this one though!
The Alligator’s Mouth Award started up this year and is being run by The Alligator’s Mouth, an independent children’s bookshop in Richmond, Surrey, in partnership with The Bright Agency, who represent children’s illustrators and writers around the world.
With the two biggest awards focusing on illustration (Kate Greenaway Medal) and often more long-form writing (Carnegie Medal), the Alligator’s Mouth Award fills the space in-between for “illustrated early fiction” – i.e. “story” books with pictures. Philip Reeve, Nick Sharratt and Gabrielle Kent are just a few of the recognisable names to appear on the longlist.
Speaking to Mark, who works at the bookshop and is helping to run the event, we mentioned the uniqueness of the award’s focus. He said “We get a lot of customers with reluctant or developing readers who need books that are fun and manageable while also smart and engaging.”
Libraries 4 Schools will be joining in to support the award by running a reading group made up of eight children, ages 7-9. They will be reading through the longlist of 10 books and writing reviews of what they think, which will then be sent to The Alligator’s Mouth for consideration. And maybe we’ll put them up here as well!
You can see the full longlist below, but we won’t find out the shortlist until the 8th May, and then the winner on the 13th June.
Dave Pigeon (Racer!) written by Swapna Haddow and illustrated by Sheena Dempsey (Faber & Faber)
Knights and Bikes written by Gabrielle Kent and illustrated by Rex Crowle & Luke Newell (Knights of)
Lyttle Lies: The Stinky Truth written and illustrated by Joe Berger (Simon & Schuster)
Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith (Hodder, imprint of Hachette Children’s Books)
Nice Work for the Cat and the King written and illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Alison Green Books, imprint of Scholastic Children’s Books)
Nothing to See Here Hotel written by Steven Butler and illustrated by Steven Lenton (Simon & Schuster) (you can see our review here)
Rabbit and Bear: Attack of the Snack written by Julian Gough and illustrated by Jim Field (Hodder, imprint of Hachette Children’s Books) (you can see our review here)
Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Sharks! written by Katie & Kevin Tsang and illustrated by Nathan Reed (Egmont)
The Legend of Kevin written by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)
Trouble in New York: The Travels of Ermine (who is very determined) written by Jennifer Gray and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli (Usborne Children’s Books)