A beach-loving crocodile overcomes his fear of the water with the help of his animal friends in this French import.
Fossil, a flip-flop– and goggle-clad crocodile, happily carries a host of animals (and their beach paraphernalia) on his back. As the anthropomorphic animals play in both sand and water, Fossil remains motionless, as he “is scared / to go in the water.” Finally, encouraged by his friends, the trepidatious reptile finally splashes in. The artwork, done with colored pencils and a pen, showcases simple, appealing characters who are introduced by name on the end pages, including Sonny, the bunny; Moomoo, the cow; and Piggy, the pig. Patterning is used to define different skin types and fur textures, and watching the busyness that surrounds Fossil as his friends play is highly diverting. However, unlike Richard Scarry’s Busytown books—which also contain multiple, detailed vignettes per spread—aside from small beach hijinks, there is little connective tissue to propel readers forward or enhance the bare-bones storytelling. Still, some may find a place for it on the overcoming-a-fear-of-swimming bookshelf.
With the attractive illustrations and design living somewhat apart from the sparse text, this functions more as a fetching coffee-table book than a story. (Picture book. 2-4)