Thursday, 21 February 2019

"Frockodile" by Jeanne Willis and Stephanie Laberis (Hodder Children's Books)

Now here's an interesting book, and though it may be tiptoeing over ground that has been covered before in children's books, there's a rather nicely done and subtly satisfying story to go along with "Frockodile" by Jeanne Willis and Stephanie Laberis.

Cliff is a crocodile - and Cliff rather likes dressing fabulously in a lovely red dress.

Unfortunately for Cliff, Hyenas seem to think that rather than being charming and stylish, Cliff is utterly ridiculous.

"Boy crocodiles don't wear dresses!" they laugh. But Cliff is out to prove them wrong, along with his fantastic friend Freddy.

Between them the two cook up an idea - to create a fabulous show just for Cliff to strut his funky stuff in the clothes he loves, clothes that help him express his individuality and that help him feel comfortable in his own crocodile skin.

But what will Cliff's dad say when he sees his son parading around in a red dress and high heels, and pink frilly knickers?

Perfect for younger readers, and hopefully the sort of picture book to generate really interesting chats around inclusivity in school or nursery, and perhaps put to bed that irritating "bants" that seems to kick in at an increasingly early age whenever boys or girls want to tread their own paths when it comes to their clothing preferences (or any other preference for that matter).

Nicely done, subtle but not too subtle. I think the only thing we could possibly wish for with a book like this was that the author / illustrator didn't have to resort to playing it safe with animal characters to push home a point that is well worth making for all little girls and boys everywhere, regardless of species or race.

Sum this book up in a sentence: A huge powerful positive message wrapped subtly around a story of one boy living his best life and finding a friend to help him express himself in such a cool way.

"Frockodile" by Jeanne Willis and Stephanie Laberis is out on 7th March 2019, published by Hodder Children's Books.