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Good Ship Crocodile Hardcover – September 17, 2013
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
From School Library Journal
PreS-K—Borrowing a scheme from Aesop, Lewis and Felix tell a tale of reciprocal rescue, with plenty to enjoy in the viewing. The story opens and closes with a trade-off between a toothy, realistic crocodile and a band of oddly humanoid fireflies. Snout is most amenable when the rainy season floods his river home, impeding the travels of smaller animals. The soggy fireflies, carrying leaf umbrellas in human hands, line up along the crocodile's scaly back and inside his open mouth. "So off they went." Told with economy, the text is handsomely amplified in broad spreads featuring large, close-ups of the animals in the murky terrain. The fireflies are followed by a succession of other creatures whose passage is recorded in a series of wordless pages. These unnamed neighbors-a hedgehog, a pair of frogs, a squirrel, and a family of mandrills-appear in more natural forms, albeit posed in comic stance. The frogs peering down over the crocodile's snout and squirrel's tail arched overhead as an awning convey much about their stormy journeys. "Finally, the sun gulped up all the water. Snout had drifted far down river." The crocodile, now weary and disoriented as night falls, is led back across dry land to his river by those bug-eyed, enormous fireflies. So, as the old fable tells us, one good turn deserves another, and the small can save the mighty, after all. The moral is left fo readers to discern. The spare text would be flat by itself, but the pictures can almost tell the whole tale. The ugliness of the fireflies, seemingly out of character with the other drawings, is perhaps intended for comedy, but the real humor is in the trips made by their fellow creatures.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
During the rainy season, Snout the crocodile watches the river rise. Sparkle the firefly asks Snout to carry a group of “soggy fireflies” across the river, as they cannot fly in the rain. After the obliging croc helps them, other neighbors ask for rides as well. On wordless double-page spreads, Snout ferries frogs, a squirrel, and a family of mandrills across the water. Downstream when the rains end and the river dries up, Snout is lost until the fireflies find him, light his way, and guide him home. Lewis, a former Children’s Poet Laureate of the United States, tells Snout’s story with simplicity and grace. Felix, a Swiss artist, contributes a series of engaging watercolor-and-pencil illustrations that bring the gently personified animal characters to life within a vividly realized African setting. Fine for reading aloud, the quiet but compelling story and large-scale illustrations will appeal to many young children. Preschool-Grade 1. --Carolyn Phelan