A crocodile doesn’t belong in “The Ugly Duckling”! But how to get it out?
A scribble over Hans Christian Andersen’s name on the title page is only the first sign that the classic tale’s been hijacked. A few page turns later, the cozy scenes of ducklings have been replaced by a smiling croc, who gleefully proceeds to chow down on favorite letters (“St p! Mr. Cr c dile!”) and even sentences. Maybe shaking the book or pulling out that ever-handy purple crayon to draw a tutu on him will make him leave? A little red-capped gray cygnet acts as narrator, guiding readers through the story. Along with providing interactive opportunities, Bromley and O’Byrne dial down the danger—“He might bite your finger or scratch your nose! Crocodiles like to do that”—and at last let their comical croc escape by chewing a hole (die cut into the last page and back cover) in the last page. But: “Where do you think he’ll turn up next?”
A blandly nonthreatening alternative to Emily Gravett’s Wolves (2006) and like encounters with metafictional characters. (Picture book. 5-7)