The Reptile Club
The Reptile Club
Rory loved deep-fried pickles, corduroy pants and singing in the shower. But more than anything Rory loved reptiles. So the next day at school, Rory put up Reptile Club posters and handed out Reptile Club flyers.
Fergus’ story is about a boy who can’t find a school club to suit his interests, and so he decides to start his own: The Reptile Club. Although readers are introduced to a lot of great information about reptiles, this story is mainly about making new friends and accepting others without prejudice.
Despite none of Rory’s classmates showing up for Reptile Club’s first meeting, he does get three unexpected new members: a crocodile named Raoul, an anaconda named Miriam and a gecko named Pierre (all with the ability to speak!). Through the club introductions and subsequent meetings, we, as readers, learn interesting reptile facts, including: crocodiles sweat through their mouths; tortoises can live to be over 100 years old; and geckos don’t have eyelids but can lick their own eyeballs to keep them clean and moist.
At subsequent meetings, readers learn even more reptile facts, although some of the reptile facts are slightly more fantastical. Carla chameleon is a practical joker, and Miriam the anaconda enjoys Rocky Rodent ice cream, but most of the information checks out as true. In fact, a great follow-up game/exercise for teachers and parents would be to research whether or not these reptile facts are true or false.
When Rory’s human classmates want to join the Reptile Club, the reptiles don’t want to let mammals into their club. Here, Rory explains the moral of the story to his new friends in a funny and subtle way: “It wasn’t nice to be prejudiced against others just because they had hair and could regulate their body temperature.”
The illustrations throughout the book are bright and colourful and do a great job of emphasizing movement. An inclusive range of multicultural characters fills the pages of this story. Adding to the theme of acceptance, there is also non-gender-binary play including boys dressing up as frilly unicorns, dads baking cookies, and boys knitting and joining ballet club. The Reptile Club is a great addition for any family with a little one interested in reptiles or as a gentle introduction to a new subject in school.
Reagan Kapasi is a Youth Librarian at Toronto Public Library’s Riverdale branch in Toronto, Ontario. Reagan has also worked as the Director of Inventory and Outreach for The Children’s Book Bank, a children’s literacy charity that gives away free books to children and families in high needs, Toronto neighbourhoods.