Author’s book keeps both children, parents smiling


Unimpressed with his son’s collection of children’s books, Mike Fortunato decided to write his own book, a story not only the little ones can enjoy but also one for parents. The Standley Lake High School Graduate and longtime Westminster and Broomfield resident hopes his take on the friendship between a crocodile and an alligator will dazzle readers.

“When I would read to my son who had hundreds of books, I realized I only liked to read a couple of them, plus some of them were extremely long,” Fortunato said. “I started thinking that I could do better, so I decided to try, and ended up wiring my own book.”

Fortunato’s book is called Later Gator, In a While Crocodile and is split up into three separate stories. He said he wanted to give parents the option to read shorter stories, rather than one long book, which was one of his gripes when reading to his son. The title of the book is actually how Fortunato came up with the idea to write about a budding friendship between a crocodile and an alligator.

“I had a co-worker who used to say ‘later gator’ and that reminded me of being a kid,” he said. “So I decided that would be a great way to end a story and I just started filling in the blanks form there. It’s a fun, silly and short book.”

During the book’s first story, the crocodile and alligator meet for the first time and realize they have a lot in common and decide to be friends. Throughout the other two stories, the two friends go on an adventure and spend a day in the swamp. The book is illustrated by Sharon Parish who created two happy-go-lucky characters.

It took Fortunato about a year to write and publish the book. He admits he was surprised at the cost of publishing a book, and hopes his next book will be published by a publisher, saving him the cost of fitting the bill.

“There’s a line in the book that mentions ants wearing purple underpants and every time I read say that line, the kids always laugh and giggle,” he said. “So my next book will be about the ants. It will also be one longer story, about 24 pages.”

Later Gator, In a While Crocodile was published in February and has one three literary awards. For more information or to purchase the book, visit


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