A bucolic retelling of “The Ugly Duckling” gets derailed when the book is invaded by a hungry crocodile. “What’s he doing in this book?” asks the red-capped ugly duckling. From there, things get meta. The crocodile begins gobbling up certain letters, leaving the duckling to shout, “St p! Mr. Cr c dile!” After the croc begins snarfing up entire sentences, the duckling implores the reader to rock the book from side to side—good, now the crocodile is asleep. But after the duckling draws a tutu on the crocodile with a crayon, the green interloper tries to run away, only to smash up against the side of the page. Is there any other way out? Yes—and it’ll take a little audience participation to bring it about. This most recent entry in the self-relexive picture-book canon finds a comfortable niche between the brain-busting of Mordicai Gerstein’s A Book (2009) and the cute literary investigation of Mo Willems’ We Are in a Book! (2010). A clever way to get kids thinking about the infinite possibilities of stories. Preschool-Grade 1. --Daniel Kraus
About the Author
works in educational publishing. His collaboration with Nicola O’Byrne and Nosy Crow on the words for Open Very Carefully
is his publishing debut.Nicola O’Byrne
was banned from watching Saturday morning television by her parents and she has been drawing ever since. She grew up in Singapore surrounded by the vibrant colors of the tropics and had not even heard of illustration as a career before she discovered the Illustration course at Edinburgh College of Art. She has a masters in printmaking from Camberwell College of Art. Nicola O’Byrne gets most of her ideas for children’s books when she should be working on something else, and bases all of her characters on people she knows. She lives in England.