I Wanna Iguana – Karen Kaufman Orloff

Alex has a little problem. He really wants an iguana, but his mother is against it. He figures that a little creative arguing will change his mother’s mind. “I Wanna Iguana” is a darling children’s picture book detailing Alex’s quest to win his mother over. Creatively formatted in a series of notes from Alex to his mother, and from his mother back to Alex, we see their reasoning, sometimes rational, and sometimes not.

You see, Mikey Sullivan is moving, and he can’t take his baby iguana with him. If Alex doesn’t take him, Stinky will get him, and Stinky has a dog. We wouldn’t want the dog to eat the iguana, now, would we? Mother thinks the iguana will be just fine.

Alex ramps up his argument. Aren’t iguanas just adorable? Aren’t they so much cuter than, say, a hamster? Mother doesn’t think so. She thinks they’re uglier than Godzilla.

But if he keeps the iguana on his dresser by his soccer trophies, she’ll never know the pet is there. Mother points out that soon, the iguana will be too big to go on Alex’s dresser. Foiled again.

But it will take fifteen years for the iguana to be that big, and by then, Alex will have his own house and be married! Mother points out that the odds of him getting married, when he owns a six-foot iguana?

Back and forth they go, each sharing their thoughts. They are eventually able to come to a compromise—he can take the iguana on a trial basis, if he’ll take full and total care of it. The story is punctuated with darling illustrations by David Catrow, done in vivid colors and using great facial expressions on the characters, including that of the iguana. This is a story moms and sons alike will enjoy.

(This book was published in 2004 by GP Putnam’s Sons.)

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