Martin McKenna, The Crocodolly, Omnibus Books/Scholastic, 1 September 2015, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk) ISBN 978 1 74299 071 2
Resourceful little Adelaide turns her hand to baking a cake. She cracks an egg into the mix only to discover that, in so doing, she has just hatched a little crocodile, a creature so gorgeous that she determines to keep him, notwithstanding the house rule of ‘no pets’. The trouble is that crocodiles do not stay small forever. What to do? Adelaide devises a cunning plan of disguising the little reptile as a doll, its body concealed by a lacy pink frock, a silky blonde wig complete with a big bow draped over its head and claws nicely nail-polished. Still the crocodile grows, still Adelaide persists through public mayhem and growing suspicion about her strange dolly.
The Crocodolly is patently a very mirthful picture book that is sure to entertain young readers with its comical plot and its endearing characters – Ozzy crocodile is such a fetching creature in his pink finery and Adelaide is so intrepid and steadfast in her mission to keep Ozzy. Just like Ozzy’s progressive public adventures in parks, the theatre, in shops and the swimming pool, the illustration is also bold, vibrantly animated, and with action full across the spreads.
Problems eventually are resolved and Adelaide hatches an even more cunning plan which ingeniously capitalizes on Ozzy’s native assets and behaviour, cleverly recalling actions that featured unappreciated in earlier bedlam. Newly appreciated and fully grown, Ozzy brings the story around full circle for an aptly wry conclusion. A most entertaining book, especially as a page-turning read-aloud for infant audiences.
reviewed by Kevin Steinberger