For today's Poetry Friday selection, I'm offering up Crocs!, a rhyming picture book by "the emerging poet of gross," David T. Greenberg. Told in second person, which is unique in itself, a boy leaves the city for what promises to be a quiet vacation away from "Roaches in your omelets/ pigeons dropping bomblets/ wild poodles stalking you in gangs." At first he's having a nice time relaxing, but is soon surrounded by tons of crocodiles intent on disturbing his peaceful vacation. They soon invade his life, and the boy soon starts getting the urge to act like a crocodile. The surprise ending is cute and satisfying even though it is a bit cheesy.
So, you know, it's very difficult to tell a story in rhyme. Children's book authors often try it and often fail because it's hard to make the rhymes work. While Crocs! is not a failure, there are moments when the rhymes really work like in the beginning of the book, "Isn't it a pity/ That you had to leave the city/ Because of the all the horrifying critters/ Giant tabby cats/ And defiant scabby rats/ Large enough to swallow baby-sitters."
And then there are times when the rhythm is off a bit: "Crocodiles growling/ Crocodiles Howling/ At the very tops of their lungs/ Crocodiles thrashing/ Wildly smashing/ Crocs with studs in their tongues."
However, Lynn Munsinger's illustrations are very funny and had me laughing out loud in places. Goofy-looking crocodiles are in all types of funny situations. You see a long-lashed crocodile putting on lipstick, another painting her nails bright pink, a couple of crocodiles unsuccessfully trying to floss their teeth, a crocodile chef with a wok, noodles in its mouth and all over the place, and many many more. Because of this, I can forgive some of the weak poetry in the book even though I really do wish it was just a tad bit better.
I think many kids will enjoy the absurdity of the situations depicted in the book and will reach for it again and again.
Visit the Poetry Friday roundup at author amok.
What Other Bloggers are Saying:
Charlotte's Library: "...this book is fun to read aloud, and fun to look at, and kind of strange. Definitely one for the child who appreciates more than a bit of surreality with their playful, rollicking verse." (read more...)
A Patchwork of Books: "The illustrations are a perfect match to the story and your little ones will be giggling at the silliness of the crocs and the great faces on the boy." (read more...)
- Reading level: Ages 4-8
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (May 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316073067
- ISBN-13: 978-0316073066
- Source: Review copy from publisher