A crocodile in the family by Kitty Black

cover image

Illus. by Daron Parton. Hachette Australia, 2020. ISBN: 9780734419507.
(Ages: 3-7) Recommended. When a family of birds decide to take an abandoned egg home with them they don't really know what to expect. They sit the egg up on a gold-tasselled cushion to watch television with them and watch with anticipation as it begins to crack. When a bright green crocodile pops out they are positively thrilled . . . but the other bush animals are astonished. Why would they want to keep him?! He is green! He could eat you! As croc grows his other qualities start to become clear. Do you keep him because he is beautiful?, they ask. Is it because he is helpful or fun? He is all of those things, say the bird family, but that isn't why we keep him. It is 'because he belongs with us, and that's that.'
This is a heart-warming story about families and how people within them can be different in all sorts of ways. A useful starting point for discussions about family diversity that could be applied to adoption, unique characteristics within families and societal perceptions of family differences.
Parton's illustrations are bold, bright and filled with humorous detail. The other Australian animals depicted each have their own distinctive personalities that could also spark further conversation. Themes: Family, Belonging.
Nicole Nelson