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CROCODILE by Jonathan London


Disappearing Dragon

by Jonathan London & illustrated by Paul Morin

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-56402-634-5
Publisher: Candlewick

Through night and day, across a year, Crocodile lays and hatches her young, eats crunchy turtles, and evades predators. London’s poetic text is straightforward and informative, and reads beautifully aloud: “A big buck / slaps through the shallows,” “A blue crab scuttles, / pincers clacking, / attacking the hatchlings.” His text is laid in a column on a beige textured background against the right or left margin of each long double-spread, with Morin’s three-quarter bleed oil paintings dominating. The illustrations, in rich and warm colors, are realistic but with a soft line and impressionistic lighting. Though they may not immediately engage young readers, they match the mood of London’s text, as they did in the pair’s previous collaboration, Panther: Shadow of the Swamp (not reviewed). A page-long note at the end restates, in more detail, the crocodile reproductive habits that were communicated in the text, and goes on to describe the endangered status of American crocodiles. A map showing the location of the Florida Everglades (with an inset of most of the US showing Florida’s relative location) faces the note. Oddly, the term “everglades” is used nowhere in the main text or in the note. For young crocodile enthusiasts or for classroom use, this is a fine introduction to the habitat and habits of American crocodiles. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)