'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 14 April 2011

Review: Never Smile at a Crocodile

Remember that song? It’s oh so true. You must never smile at a crocodile. Particularly if you are a rather small bunny, monkey, frog, bird or – is that a wombat? And you must also, at all costs, not tease a crocodile – you’re just asking for it if you do.

This visually stunning book, illustrated by the eye-bogglingly talented Shane Devries, takes the text from the song and totally pegs it with a fantastical series of scenes, delicately impinged upon by a large, snapping crocodile.

The illustrations are so rich and mesmerizing and beautiful, you’ll spend ages pouring over each page, of course, forcing pauses in the song waiting patiently in your head, hankering to gallop on.

Factor this in when you read to the kids – for there’ll also be plenty a pause as they giggle and point and push their noses into the pages. This is absolutely the kind of book readers will dive into, headlong, and stay there awhile and a half.

The cheesy grins on the faces of characters featured throughout the book are priceless. In fact, Devries has managed to capture a range of emotion that is sure to make you grin from ear to smiling-crocodile ear.

Included in the back of the book is a CD of the song, smoothly vocalized by the somewhat gorgeous Jay Laga’aia. Kids will love to sing along with Jay, or play the instrumental version and read along instead.

My only criticism on this book is that I would have liked to read up a little on the history of this timeless song. Other than this - this is true bliss on printed page.

Title: Never Smile at a Crocodile
Author: Words and music by Jack Lawrence & Frank Churchill
Illustrator: Shane Devries
Publisher: Scholastic, $26.99
Publication Date: November 2010
ISBN: 9781741696943
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 1 - 4
Type: Picture Book

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