Region: Latin America, Venezuela
Author: María Eugenia Manrique
Original Language: Spanish
Translator: Amy Brill
Illustrator: Ramón París
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Descriptors: Animals, caiman alligators, friendship, grief, loss.
Age: 7-10 years old
María Eugenia Manrique’s The Caiman is a unique and heartwarming tale of a man’s love for this unusual pet alligator. Deep in San Fernando de Apure, Venezuela, lived many exotic animals. Unfortunately, these animals were often exploited by hunters in the area. A baby caiman alligator was left orphaned at just a few days old. A jeweler by the name of Faoro had a love for all animals, and he vowed to take care of the little alligator. As time passed, Night the alligator grew ten feet long. Everyone in the village loved Night and she loved them. As time passed, Faoro grew sick and passed away. The alligator mourned the loss of her owner and did not eat for weeks. Faoro’s wife, Angela, knew Night was inconsolable. Angela thought of her beloved husband and sang to the alligator. Finally, the alligator emerged from her sadness and went on to live the rest of her life with Angela by her side. The incredible part about this story is that it’s true. Faoro was a man in Venezuela who took in a Caiman alligator that everyone adored. The alligator wore gold settings on her fangs and gave rides to village children. The author, María Eugenia Manrique, was among the children who visited the Caiman every day. Ramón París, the illustrator is also from Venezuela and did an incredible job creating a warm tropical feel through the art in the book. However, adults should be aware that this book contains mature topics like exploiting animals for their skin and the death of a main character. Therefore, this book would be great for children between the ages of seven and ten years old. The Caiman was published in Venezuela and originally in Spanish, but there are English versions available in print and eBook.
More About This Book
Reviewed: eBook by Amazon Crossing Kids (2021). 40 p.
Reviewed by: Raquel Martinez