A picture book that presents some information about crocodiles.
The book begins: “If there’s one thing you should know about crocodiles, it’s that they’re really scary.” And that does crocodiles a huge disservice. While the story does present some crocodile facts—crocodile mothers build nests of leaves and lay between 40 and 60 eggs; crocodiles don’t need to eat that often—the bulk of the story focuses on how crocodiles sneak up on their prey and eat them. Author Jenkins’ tone is conversational and droll, but the dry humor doesn’t outweigh the story’s fearmongering (“waiting for something—or even somebody—to come down to drink”). It’s hard to know what purpose this serves, other than developing in readers a fear of the natural world. Kitamura’s mixed-media illustrations, featuring large, toothy crocodiles that sprawl, side-to, across double-page spreads, are largely redundant. Sometimes the crocodile faces left, sometimes right. The backmatter offers additional information: There are 16 kinds of crocodiles; the crocodiles featured in the book are saltwater crocodiles. As this is not relayed in the story itself, readers may feel some confusion with basic facts: Do all kinds build nests out of leaves? Do they all lay 40 to 60 eggs? “More Information” lists all of two websites, one last updated in 2012.
A story that sacrifices facts for drama about creatures that have lived on Earth since the dinosaurs (a fact readers won’t find in this book). (index) (Informational picture book. 5-8)