What does the crocodile say?

by | Jan 6, 2019 | Book Review, Fiction, Picture Book

Book Details

What does the crocodile say?
Eva Montanari, Bristol: Book Island, hb. 978 1 9114 9611 3, 2018, £9.90, 36pp.

Fiction, Picture book, 2-5 years

A story told in sounds and pictures from a versatile Italian illustrator. The mellow colours of the crayon illustrations bring reassurance and comfort as little croc goes to playgroup for the first time.

The alarm clock wakes little croc in his cot and s/he’s off into a day full of sounds and the somewhat noisy and scary prospect of playgroup. Little croc, who is never named or gendered, goes from the safety of a familiar family – “the tickle goes hee hee” and “the breakfast goes munch” – out into the world, which little croc regards with a somewhat anxious expression as soon as the front door “goes wumpth” behind her/him. By the time “the elephant says peekaboo” around the playgroup door, little croc is clinging to mummy (or it could be daddy).

The story is well paced, and the mellow colours of the crayon illustrations bring the right amount of reassurance and comfort as little croc starts to find his feet with his new small animal friends. There’s plenty of humour, too. See the double page spread where the playgroup animals excitedly chase bubbles to the edge of the right hand page. Then, as soon as we turn over, it’s a surprised little croc watching the bubbles “go… pof” against the door.

Eva Montenari is a versatile Italian picture book artist, some of whose titles have appeared in this country without, it appears, finding a major publisher. We have to thank Book Island, a small independent publisher in Bristol, for bringing us this delightful title and editing it so sympathetically. 

Review by Clive Barnes