Age Range: 2 to 5
The title of this story intrigued us, don’t all crocodiles like water?! We just had to read the story to find out why he didn’t like water. We love the surprise when we find out and now that we’re more familiar with the story we’ve found picture clues that indicate that the crocodile is different from his brothers and sisters.
The Story: A little crocodile longs to play with his brothers and sisters but he doesn’t like water and swimming. He buys himself a swimming ring and tries to join in but he can’t swim and when he jumps into the water he has to be rescued. He gets so cold that he sneezes and starts breathing fire. The little crocodile isn’t a crocodile, he’s a dragon who can fly and grows into a big dragon.
There is a clue as to why the little crocodile could be different in the wordless double spread that comes before the title page, a mother crocodile is carrying a basket of eggs. All are blue with the exception of a white one. The story comes full circle as the dragon also has a basket of eggs at the end, all are white except one blue one – could there be a sequel to the story? My daughter finds it sad that the little crocodile is lonely but his attempts to join in with his brothers and sisters are cute and very amusing. I love his determination and persistence to fit in before he realises that there is a reason that he is different. Even when they realise that he is a dragon his brothers and sisters accept him for who he is, this story celebrates his uniqueness and being different isn’t an issue.
The illustrations brilliantly and humorously portray the emotions of the little crocodile. His eyes convey some wonderfully woeful expressions and his loneliness is shown in the pictures e.g. sitting alone in a tree or watching his brothers and sisters in the bath. The text is short and simple and is an easy text for a beginner reader to read.
The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water is a lovely story to stimulate discussion about similarities and differences and how we all have different strengths and different personality traits. The little crocodile experiences a range of emotions e.g. loneliness, embarrassment so it would also be a great story to introduce discussion about how children feel in particular situations.
This simple, beautifully illustrated story subtly conveys an important message. We are happy that the little crocodile discovers his identity and that his story ends happily.
The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water has been shortlisted for the 2014 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. It has also been translated into several languages.
Author / Illustrator: Gemma Merino