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Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport
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Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  43 reviews
"I live at 165 East 95th Street, and I'm going to stay here forever," says the young hero firmly. After all, out West nobody plays baseball because they're too busy chasing buffaloes, and you have to ride a horse to school even if you don't know how, and you can't sit down because of the cactus. But his parents are moving West, and they say he has to go, too. Once there, h ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published March 30th 1990 by Aladdin (first published 1980)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  275 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Eva Kartini & Biko
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: evas-shelf
I like it because it's funny and has gila monsters. They don't really meet you at the airport, I know that because I also moved from the east to the west. I like friends and so I liked reading about how Seymour and his friend, who like to eat salami together. This book is about friendship and its message is "don't be afraid when you move to a new place to live!" - Eva ...more
Becky B
This book was introduced to me by Reading Rainbow in my childhood. It was one of my favorite Reading Rainbow episodes. I also devoured the book a few times off screen back then, but I realized I've never written a review for it. So today I re-visited this old friend.

A boy is moving with his family from the East (which looks like New York City) out West. At first the boy is in denial about moving. He starts listing his worries and sharing his vision for what life will be like out West. (Much of w
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Decent story and illustrations about perceived regional identities in the U.S.
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
A boy's family is moving away from New York City on the East coast of the U.S.A. to out west. The boy is less than thrilled about this, and shares all the things he's heard about the West, which causes him to dread the change even more. However, a chance encounter helps him have a better outlook on the move.

This is a book I remember seeing on Reading Rainbow ages ago, and loving when I was a kid, though I didn't remember a lot of the story. It does hold up for re-reading and I think the fears e

Jodi Welsh
Aug 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 2nd and 3rd graders
Recommended to Jodi by: a 3rd grade teacher
This is a cute book that has a moral, "Don't believe everything you hear; find out for yourself before you judge it.". It's about a boy who had to move from the east, New York to way out west and he wasn't looking forward to it at all. He was afraid of what he had heard about the west. While he was at the airport, he met a boy from out west who had to move to New York. This boy heard terrible things about New York. This is a good read aloud and reread. It could also be a good witing prompt idea. ...more
Maria Garcia
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Interest Level: Ages K-5
Reading Level: Ages 3 to up
Lexile Reading Level: AD560L

Delicately illustrated to catch young audience's attention. Perfect to create cultural awareness (within national cultures and to reduce anxiety when moving to a new place. Easy and fun wording, understandable even by the youngest kids.
Matthew Reyes
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Being a kid that moved from the East coast to the West coast, this story connects with me on a deep level. I understand the main character's frustration with moving and how it can be overwhelming moving to a completely different place. I feel the illustrations of this book are very abstract yet make sense for the abstractness of the main character's depiction of what the West is supposed to look like. Very vibrant colors are used to keep the reader attracted and the dialogue is short and effecti ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn't like the book because it was not my kind of book. I like books that are like about brave knights or about building something (like Rosie Revere, Engineer). I did like that someone was moving to somewhere else and someone was moving to somewhere else, and they told him something like "the gila monsters meet you at the airport or the crocodiles peer up from those cages you see, and sometimes get out." ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
The young boy narrating the story is about to move from New York City to the west coast. He has all kinds of preconceived notions about what it will be like “out west” - cactus everywhere you look, everyone wears chaps and bandannas and everyone grows up to be a sheriff. Then he meets a boy at the airport who is heading east with his own ideas of what the east will be like.

Good message about forming an opinion based on inaccurate information.
Christopher Reiger
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of my preschooler's favorite books.

Read aloud, it never fails to provoke giggles and smiles: Out West it takes fifteen minutes just to say hello. Like this: H-O-W-W-W-D-Y, P-A-A-A-R-D-N-E-R. But the humor is in the service of the book's enduring message, one of value to all readers, whether or not big moves are on the horizon. Sharmat nails the voice of her narrator, and Barton's illustrations play well with the text.
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This was adorable and so funny! The illustrations were great and I know I would have loved this as a kid. One thing I found interesting is that there were chapters, even though this book is written for kids under the age of reading books long enough to have chapters. Might be a good way to introduce them to the concept?
Reading Rainbow selection. Picture book about moving from the East Coast to the "wild West". Funny story about moving and learning not to believer everything you hear about a new place! Appeals to preschoolers and K-5 group. ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A New York boy's stereotypes of the West are shot down after he moves there, as well as for a boy who moves to New York from the West. Entertaining. ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western, picture, nyc
Rumors about moving from NYC to the 'wild' west. ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picturebooks
I didn't really enjoy this one. I found it kind of weird and didn't make sense to me. ...more
Sydney Drinkwater
We’ve done a lot of moving and can relate to these kids. Funny book.
Heather Michele
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jillian Anderson
Feb 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Such an odd title but the book made me laugh about the false ideas the main character had about moving West.
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is about misconceptions people have about people, places, and culture. I could relate with the book from the perspective of reader response theory questions.I connected to the story because I moved to Arizona from California. Although I knew and I had visited Arizona many years ago, I still had to encounter some of the misconceptions about this state. One of them was there are no trees in Arizona only cacti.

At the begining of my reading, this book made me feel uncomfortable because it
Jun 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Gila Monsters Meet You At the Airport by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustrated by Byron Barton is a funny, clever look at a child's fears reqarding moving. In this case the boy has preconceived notions of how strange his new city in the West will be compared to his home in the Eastern US. He fears there will be no baseball, because they're too busy chasing buffalo. He's sure there is cactus everywhere, everyone talks s l o w l y, and that he'll have to ride a horse to school. He's worried about ...more
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading-record
Illustrator: Byron Barton
Age: Elementary
Summary: A New York City boy's preconceived ideas of life in the West make him apprehensive about the family's move there.
Applications/Uses: Exploring the differences between city and desert life, the animals found in those different areas, and what is the difference between expectations and what will really be in a different part of the world, it could also just be a good story to have if a student moves into or out of your classroom (town) to read to kno
Gracie Guagenti
Jul 17, 2014 rated it liked it
A boy wants to stay in the home he knows and loves but his parents move him out West. Throughout the book he describes what he believes about the West. Then he meets a boy at the airport who is moving East and he listens to that boy describe what he believes about people out East. Once he arrives out West he realizes things aren't all bad.
This book would be good for educators to use when introducing a Flat Stanley or pen-pal unit to late Elementary students. They could predict what they believe
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a humorous tale about misperceptions of living in different parts of the country. The concept would hold true for overseas places as well, and I liked how we experience what's imagined and what's real throughout the story. I also liked that the boy moving to the East had equally preposterous notions of life in New York City.

The narrative is fairly short and the illustrations are humorous and cartoonish. We enjoyed reading this book together.
Caroline Braun
This was a pretty cute book and it had a lesson. It's lesson was that you can't judge something until you've tried it or in the books case, you can't judge a place until you've been there. The main character judged the south before going there and then found out it wasn't at all like what he had originally thought. ...more
Benjamin Elliott
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book tackles the idea of moving in a way that I think a kid would understand. As the country, and the whole world, become more connected, I think that a lot of the exaggerations and misunderstandings about different geographical areas are lessening, but they are still there, and the anxiety about moving to a new place never really goes away.
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Cute but somehow it's like an angel for Solomon singer turned backwards and told from the perspective of a boy not an old man. And I grabbed these two books at random from a shelf at the library. Weird! ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Forever etched in my mind is a Reading Rainbow episode, with LeVar Burton, featuring this book. It's a pretty good book though not deserving of the praise heaped upon it by Mr. Burton. ...more
Oct 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Amanda by: reading rainbow
Shelves: kids
one of my favorite books as a kid. I saw it on reading rainbow of course!
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book got me through the move to Arizona
Kelly Holmes
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, picture-book
This picture book reminds me of how some people think that everyone from Texas is a cowboy! Decent read.
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Marjorie Weinman Sharmat was an American children's writer. She wrote more than 130 books for children and teens, and her books have been translated into several languages. The Library of Congress chose many of her books as book of the year, and her books were frequently Literary Guild selections. ...more

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