Thursday, August 13, 2020

Claude : The True Story of a White Alligator - a bookwrap

A Celebration of Uniqueness!  



Authored by Emma Bland Smith
Illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter

* Ages:  4-8 years
* Grade Level:  PS-3
* Hardcover:  32 pages
Publisher:  Little Bigfoot
* Pub. Date:  Aug. 4, 2020
* Language:  English


“The theme of rejection due to difference is an intrinsic part of Claude’s story, so readers develop sympathy and empathy as they also learn facts about albinism and animal behavior.”–Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Ultimately, Claude’s hopeful tale is a celebration of individuality and the joy in finding those who appreciate you for exactly who you are.”–Booklist

From the Publisher 

Claude was born with a condition called albinism, which can also affect people and other animals.  Albinism is used by the body's inability to produce a substance called melanin, which gives color to our hair, skin, and eyes.  This is why Claude has yellowish-white skin and pinkish eyes.  Like many features, albinism is passed down from from parents to offsprings by genes -- that make us who we are.  Like Claude, people with  albinism are very vulnerable to sun damage and often have impaired vision.  But just like Claude, they know that different can be wrongful.  

Unwrapping Some Illustrations

The Book

This is a true story.  Claude hatched on September 15, 1995 in Louisiana.  When he exited his egg he was starkly different from his siblings... Claude was pure white.  Why?  He was an albino which means he lacked the pigment melanin in his skin so he had no colour.  This put him in danger because he could not hide and blend in with his surroundings.  He could not camouflage an element that kept him safe.  Wisely Claude was sent to a new home at the California Academy of Sciences where he was kept safe from harm and actually became a celebrity there.  Everyone wanted to see the novel albino alligator.  

The book has a positive message for young readers.  It points out that being different can have its merits.  It shines a light on the importance of having compassion and empathy.  It addresses the importance of accepting others who are different from you. 

The illustrations are wonderfully done and the book includes a segment at the end of the book of "Common Questions About Claude"  for those who want to learn more about this interesting creature.  This book would be perfect placed in a classroom and  elementary school library.  The story is heartwarming and it teaches valuable life skills that any age can benefit from.  I highly recommend this book. 

Storywraps Rating - 5 +++ HUGS!

 Meet the Author

EMMA BLAND SMITH is a librarian and author of children's fiction and nonfiction. Her picture book debut, Journey: Based on the True Story of OR7, the Most Famous Wolf in the West, won the 2017 Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award for children's literature and the 2017 Cook Prize, which honors the best STEM picture book published for children aged eight to ten. Many of Emma's books feature real-life animals--wolves, dogs, pigs, and alligators. Emma lives in San Francisco with her family, which includes a dog and a cat (but no alligator). Visit her online at

About the Illustrator

JENNIFER POTTER is an illustrator living in San Francisco. When she's not busy drawing, she loves visiting the city's many parks and museums with her husband. She has visited Claude many times, and is thrilled he agreed to let her draw him.

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