The crocodile under the bed by Judith Kerr
HarperCollins, 2014. ISBN 9780007586752
Matty is inconsolable. Instead of being able to go to the party to celebrate the Queen's birthday, he is stuck in his bed, too sick to go out. Not even being looked after by his grandfather placates him. After everyone has left and it is very quiet as Grandpa reads the paper, Matty hears a voice. 'Want to go to a party?' it says. And from underneath the bed comes a large green crocodile complete with pink pointy party hat.
And as Grandpa sleeps, Matty climbs onto the crocodile's back and with a toot on his party blower they fly out of the window into the big open sky. But they don't go to the Queen's birthday - they go to the King's birthday - the king of the jungle! Led by Chimp, Matty enjoys a party like no other with games that could never be had at the Queen's birthday. There's the rip-roarer ride on the tiger's back, the big bounce with gorilla and even the great serpentine slide - with a special surprise at the end. Suddenly, it is time to go - the Queen's birthday party has finished in a deluge and Matty needs to be home in bed before his family get there.
Ever since author Judith Kerr wrote The Tiger who came to Tea in 1968, this book has been on her drawing board and is finally in the shape that she wants after 46 years and another 29 books! But even at 91, Kerr knows what children want and she tells a tale that will never date delivering a magical, whimsical book that allows their imagination to take flight and soar. Her illustrations are just as delicate with their soft colour palette and the storyline is delightful - why go to a street party with all your neighbours when you can go to a jungle party where you're the special guest?
This is a story for all ages of childhood - it's a lovely read-aloud bedtime story for the very young but it is also a tale to intrigue older children whose imaginations allow them to believe in flying crocodiles and have rides on a fish called Fat Flapper and who can probably think of similar adventures they would have if a crocodile came out from under their bed.
Kerr has lost none of her touch nor her charm.