The unexpected crocodile by Kim Kane

cover image

Ill. by Sara Acton. Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN 978 1 74237 807 7.
(Ages: 5+) Recommended. Picture book. Cautionary tale. The glorious scene of the unexpected crocodile turning up to Peggy's place to join the family for dinner, will entice readers into this book. With his bright red umbrella and jaunty red bow tie, the crocodile almost swaggers into the house. It has rained for weeks, and mum and dad have been frantically getting the sodden house ready for their nieghbours, but when answering the doorbell, Peggy is surprised by the crocodile asking if the Dawsons have already arrived. 10 minutes later, they do arrive, complete with their three rather unlovely boys and a croquembouche that Mrs Dawson has made for desert, telling everyone that the boys made it.
The boys each reject the food offered and the crocodile eats their mother, boots and all. Later, when looking at the clock, he eats Mr Dawson, and when the odious boys ask for croquembouche rather than the coleslaw, he eats them too. A wonderful end to an obnoxious family.
This story will bring whoops of laughter from its audience as the crocodile does the most unexpected things. Readers will laugh as the crocodile dressed in his best bow tie turns up to dinner, and whoop with delight when he eats the lying mother, the quiet father and the three nasty boys. Salting them first of course. The wonderful illustrations will beguile the most diffident of readers into the story, adding another level of humour to the words, and acquainting them with a wide vocabulary as they read.
Sara Acton's website gives further illustrations which children will love, particularly the one of her on the home page, burrowing away with her drawing.
Kim Kane's other books include Pip, the story of Olive and The vegetable ark, both of which are award winners.
Fran Knight