Cover image for The night Iguana left home
The night Iguana left home
McDonald, Megan.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : DK Ink, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Although her friend Alison Frogley treats her very well, Iguana feels that something is missing in her life.
General Note:
"A Richard Jackson book"--P. preceding t.p.
Reading Level:
510 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.7 0.5 46044.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.1 2 Quiz: 25048 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Everyone -- even a lizard -- needs a vacation now and then.... Even though her "almost sister" Alison mists the room daily with salt spray and sees to it that Iguana has a closet with a heating pad, a free library card, and her own e-mail address, the pet is restive (and peeling). It's winter in Schenectady, and Iguana wants sun -- just what's promised by a travel poster for Key West, Florida. Emboldened, she writes a good-bye to Alison, signing her name "Iguana," and, despite her innate fear of dogs, boards a Greyhound bus headed south, where she has a blast. When her funds dwindle, Iguana takes a dishwashing job, only to learn to her horror that the restaurant's Friday night special is iguana stew and the chef's run out of his principal ingredient. Meanwhile, Alison pines in the snow belt, hardly guessing at the dramatic turn her pet's life has taken. The story is wittily wild (but the iguana facts -- she separates from her tail while fleeing the restaurant's dog -- are all sound science), the pictures burst with our heroine's grand style and pluck, and the ending - courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service -- is happy for all.

Author Notes

Megan McDonald was born February 28, 1959, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She grew up in the 1960s the youngest of five girls - which later became the inspiration of the Sister's Club. She attended Oberlin College and received a B.A. in English, then she went on to receive a Library Science degree at Pittsburgh University in 1986. Before becoming a full-time writer, McDonald had a variety of jobs working in libraries, bookstores, museums, and even as a park ranger.She was children's librarian, working at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Minneapolis Public Library and Adams Memorial Library in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She has received various awards for her storytelling including a Judy Blume Contemporary Fiction Award, a Children's Choice Book award, and a Keystone State Award among others. McDonald has also written many picture books for younger children and continues to write. Her most recent work was the "Julie Albright" series of books for the American public. She currently resides in Sebastopol, California with her husband and pets.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3-6. If Wild's previous picture book Old Pig (1996) was a story about saying "Good-bye" to life, her new one is all about saying "Hello." Rosie, a little hare, can't wait for her baby brother to be born, but when the great day finally arrives, she finds herself too frightened to hold him. After all, baby Bobby only weighs as much as an onion, and to his sister, he seems to be "the smallest, weakest little hare ever." But even though Bobby begins to grow, weighing, in turn, as much as a potato, a turnip, and eventually a cauliflower, Rosie remains reluctant. It finally takes a story from her wise father to calm her fears and open her eyes and her arms to her new brother. Brooks' pictures and hand-lettered text are a perfect match for this gentle story, which--though originally published in Australia--has universal appeal. (Reviewed December 1, 1999)0789425815Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

McDonald (The Bone Keeper) shifts gears for this tale of an exotic pet that's happiest in its native climate. Despite a close bond with her human friend Alison, Iguana feels out of sorts. She enjoys her heating pad, and "once a day Alison mist[s] her with salt spray from a squeegee bottle," but this cannot compare to a warm beach and real seawater. Inspired by an episode of The Magic School Bus, Iguana buys a coach ticket to Key West, where she soaks up the sun and sends a postcard to Alison in Schenectady, N.Y. Later, she gets a job as a restaurant's dishwasher but flees when gallina de palo--iguana stew--appears on the menu. As she makes her getaway, she loses a few inches of her tail to the would-be chefs; in subsequent illustrations, the tail gradually heals and grows back, marking time with the turning pages. Goembel's (Hi, Pizza Man!) naturalistic bright green, spiny-backed lizard behaves both as an animal and a person. In the closely observed images, Iguana goes from T-shirt-wearing surfer to ordinary undressed reptile, which makes for a mildly schizophrenic ride. McDonald, too, expressly avoids the ordinary. Iguana writes and visits Alison but gladly remains a Floridian. The narrative, though convoluted at times, explains that friends sometimes must separate but reassures that love can endure across many miles. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2 Alison's pampered iguana longs for warm weather perks. One day, the lizard travels from Schenectady, NY, to Florida via bus where her attempt at living "the high life" meets with mixed success. For a while, the creature sunbathes, swims, and surfs, but soon her money runs out and she is forced to find work. Another problem is that the two friends miss one another. Eventually, the animal finds a job licking stamps at the post office and the two are able to find happiness through a compromise of e-mail and semiannual visits. Goembel's dynamic drawings done in sepia ink with watercolor washes produce portraits of the lonely child and sun-bonneted iguana with equal panache. Although young listeners may need explanations for a few of the words and phrases in the text (forwarding addresses, priority mail), this inventive tale will guarantee grins. Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.