Monday, 22 July 2013

Click, Clack, Crocodile's back by Kathryn White and Joelle Dreidemy (Little Tiger Press)

Crocodiles are always superbly effective "villains" in children's books and the croc in "Click Clack, Crocodile's Back" is no exception. He's a bully, he's sneaky, he's sly and most animals are at the top of his menu every day.

The animals soon tire of his antics and decide that the only way to sort Croc out is to work together, and prove that even the nastiest bullies can be dealt with without resorting to their tactics.

In Kathryn White's book, humorous rhyming text is used in conjunction with Joelle Dreidemy's marvellous animal illustrations to convey a fairly serious underlying message, that there are far better ways to deal with nasty folk than playing them at their own game. I really like the fact that using brains rather than brawn, the animals come up with the perfect way to divert Crocodile from his snapping and sneaky subversion.

We've seen the theme many times before (as I said, Crocodiles make such effective bad guys and there are so many books that use them in a similar way - take "The Selfish Crocodile" by Faustin Charles or Kathryn White's other croc-based book "Here comes the Crocodile" as further examples). Here though I think we rather admired the fact that the real stars of the stories are the other animals.

It may not be intended as an anti-bullying message but it most certainly feels like one, wrapped subtly in an entertaining and funny rhyming story.

Charlotte's best bit: Crocodile's natty dress he's unintentionally tricked into wearing

Daddy's favourite bit: Superb book, really entertaining and with a quite subtle message on how to deal with disagreeable folk (or crocs). Love it!