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The Christmas Crocodile Hardcover – October 1, 1998

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Uncle Theodore is huffing, Aunt Figgy is fretting, and Alice Jayne is tapping her foot--pretty subdued behavior considering the fact that a hungry crocodile has just appeared under the Christmas tree. This eccentric family handles the mysterious reptile remarkably well, even though the beast seems to have an appetite as fierce as its legendary bite. The Christmas Crocodile tears around the house eating everything in sight, whether edible (a roast, five golden oranges, a pineapple upside-down cake) or inedible (a shoe, ribbons, a feather boa, earmuffs, and fruitcake). The family is divided over how to best deal with this unexpected guest. Send him to an orphanage? Pack him off to the zoo? Make him into a pair of shoes? "He's nice," said Alice Jayne. "Maybe we could keep him." Just when it seems the crocodile has eaten all he can stomach, the family awakens to discover that he has consumed nearly all the presents and the Christmas tree too! The one uneaten gift holds the key to this toothsome tale, as well as a surprise that will have kids smiting their foreheads in gleeful anticipation of more mayhem to come.

Author Bonny Becker has crafted a rollicking reptile romp, with an apologetic refrain--"The Christmas Crocodile didn't mean to be bad, not really"--to which children can surely relate. David Small, creator of the Caldecott Honor-winning The Gardener, accompanies Becker's spritely, funny text with equally amusing, expressive illustrations that will have youngsters poring over this book long after the last present has been unwrapped. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2?Alice Jayne finds a crocodile with a big red bow around its neck under the tree on Christmas Eve. The toothy beast proceeds to bite, gnaw on, or eat up whatever it gets near. Banished to the basement, the insatiable creature holds court as the entire family slips down to comfort it. Unfortunately, they all doze off, awakening to find that the house is a disaster. Having eaten the Christmas tree and all the presents, the croc is looking "alarmingly round." Just then the family discovers that it was delivered to the wrong address. Two men show up and take it away, much to the relief of everyone but Alice Jayne. Small's wonderful watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations set the mayhem in a turn-of-the-century mansion, but the text simply doesn't match the energy of the pictures. This Christmas Crocodile is no budding star; Bernard Waber's Lyle at Christmas (Houghton, 1998) is funnier and more satisfying.?LF
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 1st edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689815034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689815034
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,066,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Crocodiles do not conjure up images of a well-behaved pet! Alice Jayne sure tries to convince her eccentric family to keep a "puppy eyed" crocodile she finds under the Christmas tree. Our sympathy immediately goes out to the Christmas Crocodile who really "didn't mean to be bad." He sure gets into trouble in this book.

From page one, get ready to laugh at the adorable antics and pictures of less than amused family members. If the "Cat in the Hat" had been found under the Christmas tree, even he could not have created this much chaos! After gobbling down just about everything (a water bottle, candy canes, a Christmas roast, pumpkin pie, twenty-nine crumpets on the kitchen counter, a box of pralines, one fruitcake, five golden oranges, the left stove top burner, and a plate of ginger star cookies), the family locks the crocodile in the back room. They then retire for the evening.

What happens next can only be told by Bonny Becker and illustrated by David Small. We have copy which says: "For Alexia, Season's eatings!" signed by Bonny Becker! This is a magical book from start to finish. You don't want all this fun to ever end...and you know...it might just being again. Don't peak at the last page! This is the perfect gift for any child at Christmas time. They will enjoy reading it all year long.

~The Rebecca Review
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By MJ on December 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I heard Daniel Pinkwater read this book on his Chinwag Theatre program. My family really ate it up! We cried crocodile tears-of laughter. It is really funny, and the illustrations are perfect too, with lots of personality and great details. My kids love the little dog, who is annoyed by the greedy but lovable crocodile, but Aunt Figgy is a close runner up. Alice Jayne's crazy relatives are a hoot, but the story has a real sweetness and generosity that kids and parents alike will appreciate. Everyone we have shared it with has loved it--young and old.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Christmas Crocodile has been a big hit in our house. The wonderful story of Alice Jayne and her hilarious family are perfect with the illustrations. Our five year old loves the crocodile who eats his way through this eccentric family's Victorian Christmas. This is one Christmas story that will become a tradition in our house.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has been a big hit with my son. He asks us to read it two or three times per day. The story and pictures are great. The two main characters, Alice-Jayne and the Christmas Crocodile are very lovable. Alice-Jayne shows great concern for the crocodile, even as he consumes more and more of Christmas at every turn. The author does a great job creating wacky but believable relatives. The illustrations are very engaging. I especially like their detail. I feel that any children's book with intricate drawing will make the book enjoyable even after multiple readings. This book will become a tradition in our family.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of my all time favorite Christmas books. It is about a madcap family and a loveable crocidile. The illustrations are great reading after reading. The story is humorous and touching and fun for repeated readings. My kids love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Start a new holiday tradition by reading the Christmas Crocodile with your family. You'll laugh at the crazy antics of the eccentric family members and the crocodile who "didn't mean to be bad." This book is a winner from beginning to end and the illustrations capture the hilarity perfectly!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christine Allen-yazzie on March 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is hilarious. I bought it when a fairly generous employer gave me purchasing power at the wonderful Sam Weller's Book Store in SLC; I said I wanted to do book reviews as the books and readings editor for an online pub, but really I just needed books for my daughter and couldn't afford any.

I was surprised and pleased to see I liked it as much as my daughter, though I found I had much to explain as she watch me laugh till I cried. I could see this book being used in an adult western civ class...a person could read all kinds of things into it...about cultural appropriation, about egocentrism, about colonialism... I have two daughters now, and both absolutely love it, but sometimes I read it for myself and to other adults after the girls have gone to bed. The illustrations, by the way, are fantastic. If I were to suggest one Christmas book for kids, this would definitely be it. This is the one Christmas book I don't put away in January, but keep around all year.
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