Friday, 24 January 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 24th January 2014 - "Watch out for the Crocodile" by Lisa Moroni and and Eva Eriksson (Gecko Press)

Watch out for the Crocodile

Written by Lisa Moroni

Illustrated by Eva Eriksson

Published by Gecko Press

There's potential for a huge sprawling blog post about dads in children's picture books, a subject we're obviously very interested in. You see, the pattern for dads is usually that they're kind-hearted, slightly bumbling, sometimes strong, sometimes weak, ultimately second fiddle to mums when it comes to parenting.

We love books where the character dynamic reflects the dynamic on this blog, so when "Watch out for the Crocodile" by Lisa Moroni and Eva Eriksson came along for review, we wanted to see how the dad in the book measured up to the cliche dad we've seen so many times in other stories.

Dad decides to organise a camping trip with his daughter, to spend a bit more time with her. He's a bit inept, spends far too much time on his mobile phone (definitely NOT a trait that's exclusive to dads, ahem), and is a bit too obsessed with work at times (again, see previous point). But his heart is most definitely in the right place.

As they journey through the woods and the great outdoors, dad and daughter seem at odds at first. Daughter points things out to dad, dad doesn't see them - but eventually they start to bond, and let their imaginations fly - but watch out for the crocodile!

I'd like to think that if Charlotte and I replicated the scenario in this book, we'd probably both begin the trip soaking up the great outdoors with all our senses and seeing things that others miss. This book celebrates the dad-daughter relationship, but it's more effective at describing what it's like to have a vivid day-dreamy imagination whether you're an adult or a kid (and some of the best adults I know never had that 'grown up' gap in between where they wrote off all the kid-type stuff in favour of worrying about money, or what car to buy next, or whether they're progressing fast enough along the career path). "Watch out for the Crocodile" is sublime and is our book of the week simply because it's such a great message, not just for dads, mums or their children but for anyone who has lost the ability to daydream or imagine.

Charlotte's best bit: Lions on the plain! No not the plane, the plain!

Daddy's Favourite bit: A wonderful imaginative journey, a fantastic dad-daughter book, and a sharp message to never be afraid to dream or look beyond the obvious when you're looking at the world around you

(Kindly sent to us for review by Gecko Press)