A jolly Zimbabwean folk tale teaches the importance of keeping promises.
Zuva wishes for something to catch fish with when a friendly crocodile offers to catch some for her. But he wants something in return. Zuva promises the crocodile a food-filled party in town on Saturday if only he will get her some fish today. She figures the crocodile will forget the promise and won’t know when Saturday is. But this is a party croc, whose enthusiasm for the promised party will not let him forget it. Zuva shares the crocodile’s fish with the village but does not give proper credit. Each day, the excited crocodile checks in to see which day of the week it is, the patterned text lending itself to audience participation in MacDonald’s trademark style. When Saturday arrives, he is ready to roll. Surprised, Zuva tries to keep the crocodile quiet by feeding him, but the croc is not satisfied and disturbs the village, uncovering Zuva’s omission. Digitally stylized villagers, their mouths painted to the sides of their faces, meet the jolly crocodile’s questions with confusion, allowing readers to be in on the joke. Details add to the fun: He is dolled up with fish bracelets and a leaf bow tie! A brief author’s note details the origin of the tale.
The importance of keeping promises is delivered with a hearty dose of humor, making this a book to return to. (Picture book/folk tale. 4-8)