Doorways traced with a fingertip become die-cut portals on following pages as O’Byrne invites readers to help an errant crocodile find a suitable home.
Starting off in darkness, the cartoon illustrations are “illuminated” by a hand clap and a page turn to reveal a big, surly-looking crocodile named Carter—who, as a sign indicates, needs help to find his way home. Tracing a circle on the facing page and thinking of a wet place lands the green grumbler in a stormy ocean. Whoops! How about a better habitat? As Carter the croc is a hefty sort, “pushing” and “jiggling” is also sometimes needed to get him through each successive entryway, and readers can also blow him dry along with other participatory actions. After landing in snow and in desert sand, Carter at last fetches up in a comfy tropical river. Aaah—his snarl becomes a blissful smile. In one oddly gender-bending early scene he clutches a pair of seashells to his (featureless) chest and lets seaweed dangle over his (equally featureless) crotch. Younger readers, at least, will probably just find that funny and follow the instructions to keep tracing, pushing, and, finally, bidding him, as well as the meerkat and other companions who have hitched rides along the way, loud goodbyes (for now).
An adventure in interactive reading, like Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011) but with a plot. (Picture book. 5-7)