Princess Cora and the crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz

cover image

Ill. by Brian Floca. Candlewick Press, 2017. ISBN 9780763648220
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Princesses and royalty. Independence. Identity. Fantasy. Childhood. Fairy tale. In a classic fairy tale style with a princess, talking animal and a little bit of implicit magic, combined with some grit from a frustrated princess comes this charming tale. Princess Cora begins life impressing her parents with her blue eyes and pink toes, but almost immediately they are concerned for her royal role and her life is bound up with responsibilities that are dull as dirty bathwater. Cora endures her princess 'training' for some time until her polite frustration leads to a letter to an unseen fairy godmother. The solution to her woes is a crocodile!! With a little bit of 'changing places' magic, Princess Cora discovers some freedom and the joys of childhood while the crocodile metes out some reptilian payback for Cora's royal training regimen. Ultimately there is some happiness for all, in the manner of all good fairy tales. Hidden beneath the charming fairy tale plot is a little bit of a 'moral' for the adults in a child's life - allow children to be children before 'training' them for their adult roles. And a child reader will see a compliant child who learns to speak up and explore her independence, while still showing respect.
The illustrations by Brian Floca (a Caldecott medallist) are delightful and complement the text sympathetically. This is a lovely transition text between a picture book and an early chapter book.
Recommended for aged 5-8 years, it would make a lovely shared read-aloud text for an adult and child.
Carolyn Hull