Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Learning | Hey, Moose! Where is Crocodile?

My friend, Rukaya, told me about a wonderful picture book written and illustrated by Fred Marcellino, called I, Crocodile. This wry story is told from the point of view of an Egyptian crocodile, who is captured by Napoleon's army and put on display in Paris. The illustrations don't just support the story; they complement it, with whimsical touches -- like the cover picture of the crocodile seated at a cafe table, holding a menu upside down.

History buffs will enjoy the jokes about Napoleon and 19th-century Parisian life; in fact, I think it would be a fun thing to share with high school or college students studying European history. This book is an example of what I call the Bullwinkle Effect: entertainment ostensibly designed for youngsters, but delightful for all ages -- children will enjoy it, but they will miss many of the references and jokes that amuse adults.

When Rukaya showed me the book, I wondered what else Fred Marcellino had written. It turns out he is better known as an illustrator, especially of folk tales. Marcellino's pictures in Natalie Babbitt's Ouch! a Tale from Grimm are just as clever as the ones in I, Crocodile.  I have a feeling I'll enjoy reading The Story of Little Babaji  and The Steadfast Tin Soldier just as much as the other two.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds interesting. I should read a few of his books. Thanks Lori.