Far from being frightened, a small child is utterly delighted to find a green, toothy monster under her bed.
It’s Carl the croc who is startled at the appearance of Sophie—a tiny lass with a mop of orange hair and a plush “wild thing” tellingly clutched in her hand—and has to be talked down from the top of the dresser. Wild rumpuses in bedroom and kitchen ensue (“They flip at least a thousand pancakes”), leaving both empty egg cartons just right for turning into a painted toy crocodile and Carl, at least, in real need of a splashy bath. After that, he tucks his bossy new buddy into bed, regales her with tales of past silly pranks until she drifts off to dreamland, and tiptoes away. Along with Sophie’s fearlessness, this genial addition to the populous “bedtime bugaboo” genre features cleanly drawn illustrations that offer neat but comical messes and central figures who sport magnetic personalities, as well as, after those first anxious moments at least, clear signs of mutual affection. Both girl and croc are equally lovable—though the endpapers hint subversively at a less-than-upstanding agenda for Carl, as well as explaining his presence under Sophie’s bed in the first place.
A deftly upbeat encounter that should go a long way toward quelling any nascent nighttime anxieties. (Picture book. 4-6)