Wednesday, September 01, 2010

September Book of the Month

Fortune is fickle for the scaly narrator of Fred Marcellino's picture book I, Crocodile. The unnamed croc starts out living the good life on the Egyptian Nile surrounded by tasty dinner choices. But his happy times end when Napoleon Bonaparte invades and scoops up whatever strikes his fancy, including the magnificent crocodile. The croc finds himself torn from his beloved mudbank, crammed into a little cage for a ship ride overseas, and dropped into a fountain in Paris, where he is supposed to amuse Napoleon and guests. Amazingly, people flock to see him, making him a celebrity. He loves every minute--until he's not fashionable anymore. Then he's just a big critter stuck in an oversized water bowl with nothing good to eat. When Napoleon orders crocodile for dinner, the situation pushes the croc into daring action. It's lucky for him that he lives to tell his tale, though not so lucky for everybody else.

Marcellino's illustrations bring out the liveliness and drama in the scaly storyteller's adventures. We see the crocodile's Egypt and Napoleon's Paris in rich detail. Though the humans show some spunk and energy, the crocodile comes across as the most expressive, most interesting character in the book--but then, he is the one telling the story.

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