Early Readers,  Little Book

The Enormous Crocodile

Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake (illustrator)
The Enormous Crocodile is incredibly hungry-and incredibly greedy. His favorite meal is a plump, juicy little child, and he intends to gobble up as many of them as he can! But when the other animals in the jungle join together to put an end to his nasty schemes, the Enormous Crocodile learns a lesson he won’t soon forget. Dahl’s wicked humor is as delightful as ever in this new, larger edition of a hilarious favourite.
Now in my early 30’s, trying to remember what books were read to the class at the age of 7 years old is quite a stretch, except for this one. I think it’s fair to say that the whole class was captivated and then the weeks of fun afterwards trying to scare each other by pointing out where this monstrous croc was probably hiding; in the playground, classroom etc. This was my first experience of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake and I have been chomping at the bit to share this wonderful author and illustrator combo with my own children.
The ‘Enormous Crocodile’ is perfect for my soon to be primary school age child. It’s just the right size to be considered a proper storybook but still just short enough that you can finish reading the book with your child in one sitting. The illustrations, even in this 2008 edition is still in Quentin Blake’s witty and captivating style and quite rightly so, dominate each page. As it’s a much loved book of mine, its also one of the few books that I can genuinely say that I don’t mind reading again and again.
Of course that’s all very good but does this story still captivate children 25+ yrs later?
You betcha. I remember the first time I read this to my daughter. I knew I had her entranced at the very first page when the enormous crocodile talks about eating ‘a nice juicy, little child’. She stopped me reading to make sure she had heard right. To try and balance out all the princesses and fairies paraphernalia I do make sure that we read ‘non- fluffy’ text but I can’t recall many children’s books where the main protagonist is the ‘monster’ who doesn’t try or isn’t forced to redeem himself in anyway.
It was then a pleasure to explore each page where the cunning croc annoys the local animals and then his ingenious plans, pretending to be various objects to get close enough to the children to munch, are always thwarted at the last minute by the other animals. Then there is the rather unusual but delightful ending where the nasty croc gets his comeuppance!
Verdict- A nostalgic delight that’s timeless in it’s appeal to children and a great introduction to the delights of Roald Dahl.
Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: March 2003
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book, humour
Age: Early readers
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book

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