[OZTL_NET] REVIEW: The Unexpected Crocodile (K+)

Barbara Braxton barbara.288 at bigpond.com
Fri Feb 13 08:10:48 AEDT 2015


The Unexpected Crocodile

Kim Kane

Sara Acton

Allen & Unwin, 2014

Pbk., 32pp., RRP $A14.99

9781760111731

 

It's been raining for days and days and days and everything is wet and soggy.
Nowhere is not - there is even rain in the chops for the barbecue and the
Dawsons are coming to dinner!!  But when Peggy answers the door, it is not the
Dawsons standing there but a crocodile, smartly presented with a red bow tie and
umbrella.  No one seems surprised at his presence, not even the Dawsons who
arrive with a croc-embouche for dessert.  In fact, the parents are so engaged in
their one-upmanship about their children's merits that they don't even flinch
when the crocodile shows he has an appetite for things other than coleslaw.

 

There is something appealing about this book that is told in such a
matter-of-fact manner even though the words, actions and illustrations are the
very opposite of matter-of-fact. Acton's illustrations bring those of Quentin
Blake to mind and there is as much in them as in the words, a hallmark of a
well-constructed picture book.  Her two images of Peggy with a book before and
after the crocodile's visit suggest that it all might have been a hopeful dream
- but then her mother does go and buy her some sky-blue gumboots, just like the
Dawsons had.

 

While the guide audience is 3-5 and such young readers are unlikely to see
beyond the literal layer of the story, there is scope for this to be used with
older students as an introduction to farce as a genre which depends on the
central characters carrying on as normal while all around them the most
improbable is happening.  Kane's clever word-play adds humour that maintains
interest for the adult reader and the whole thing opens up a discussion about
whether such things could really happen, whether adults can really go along with
such events, much like Dahl's The BFG.  

 

While the crocodile may have been unexpected, the levels and layers of this
story were equally so.

 

Barbara Braxton

Teacher Librarian

M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children's Services) 

Dromkeen Librarian's Award 2003

COOMA NSW 2630

AUSTRALIA

barbara.288 at bigpond.com

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