Newest Review: ... on a scale most children could never dream of - and even if they could dream of it, eating the Christmas tree is just out of the qu... more
A Christmas story with a snap!
The Christmas Crocodile - Bonny Becker
Member Name: broxi3781
The Christmas Crocodile - Bonny Becker
Date: 01/12/11, updated on 15/11/12 (58 review reads)
Advantages: One of the most wonderful children's books ever!
Disadvantages: Limited availability - must order from USA.
My son's love books with plenty of naughtiness and mischief and this book is just packed with both. Alice Jayne finds a most unusual gift under the Christmas tree, a crocodile with a bright red bow wrapped around it's neck. From that point on it's one mishap after another, but the book always tell us "The Christmas Crocodile didn't mean to be bad, not really". And I don't think he does mean to be bad - it is just in his nature.
However, things go from bad to worse. The Christmas Crocodile eats his lovely red bow, then the presents, the wreath and the Christmas roast. He takes things too far when he decides to have just a smallish bite of Aunt Figgy's toes while she is sleeping and ends up locked away in cellar. But that isn't the end of things - oh no, the Christmas Crocodile is only getting warmed up - but of course ""he doesn't mean to be bad - not really".
This is an absolutely delightful book. It is quite large and perfectly illustrated and certain to have any child in giggles at story time. Children of course relate to a creature that doesn't mean to be bad. After all most children don't really mean to get into trouble either. But the crocodile gets up to mischief on a scale most children could never dream of - and even if they could dream of it, eating the Christmas tree is just out of the question. Even a real crocodile would be hard pressed to eat many of the items in this story. Both of my sons, ages 3 & 6 enjoyed this and this is currently in the favourites pile, it just stays beside the bed as it gets read every night.
My favourite part of the story is Alice Jayne - she truly loves the crocodile - warts and all. No matter how many mistakes he makes, and how much trouble he gets into, she loves him just the same. This book is now so much a part of our family life that when one of my sons really misbehaves I'll say, "But of course you didn't mean to be bad - not really", and perhaps mention that sometimes crocodiles and little boys just can't resist. And of course like Alice Jayne - I love them just as much no matter what. Everyone needs an Alice Jayne in their life, someone who loves and accepts them, just as they are.
Another nice aspect of this book is that it very subtly draws attention to the fact that Christmas is not just a tree, gifts and a fancy meal. Thoese things are only trimmings. Christmas is about family and love and kindness to each other, and even without all the trimmings, it is Christmas just the same. Of course we love our tree and decorations, our presents and sweets, but this book offers a gentle reminder that Christmas is more than all that. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the material aspects - we forget what is really important.
I hope this does not count as a spoiler, but I do always think parents should know if anything is likely to upset a child in the story. I always read my children's books before hand myself to at least prepare myself to explain away and unpleasant parts. I would not think of the ending to this story as sad at all, but my youngest did. In fact he grew teary eyed - and it took some reassurances that the crocodile would be fine and happy, and he really can not live indoors with people, and of course he was a grownup crocodile. But there is one more surprise before the book ends which will help end things on a lighter note.
This book does not appear to be in print currently and new copies are a most ridiculous price of over £70 including postage. When I read the description of this book though, I just had to have it and took a chance ordering a copy from Amazon Marketplaces Bluecloud books with a condition rating of acceptable at £4.33 including postage. I usually will not risk books with this grading, but a book in good condition was £23. I am pleased to say that while this book appears to be an ex library book, and it has obviously been read, the pages are clean and crisp and I would not complain had this been listed as very good - excellent condition. I only mention this because the seller has more copies at the same price and I would certainly recommend them, but please be aware that they are in the USA. My book took just over a week to arrive, but there are no guarantees. While I would expect a book ordered now to arrive before Christmas - it is possible for international post to take as long as 4 weeks, and we all know what x-mas post is like. All the same - I think it is worth buying anyway - even if it missed Christmas - this is in my opinion just one of those books that make childhood magical. Having read it - I would consider even the copy at £23 worth the money. The story is simply priceless. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, ther are no copies available in the UK and mine is most certainly not for sale. In fact I think I'll keep this for myself when my sons are grown, at least until I have a grandchild.
As an update - one year on the children still enjoy this story and a number of copies are available at more reasonable price -from just over £5 but sadly all are in the USA.
Summary: A real Christmas cracker!
More reviews in the field of Junior Book
- One of my favourite books from my childhood:
- Can Kipper Catch the butterfly?
- Feel the fur!
- Touchy Penguin
- Variant, Society or Havok... what would be your choice?
- ¡Me encanta aprender español! - I love learning Spanish!
- Frosty the snowman for babies and young children.
- The fire eternal that burns no ice.
- City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare
- Jack and the Dreamsack - Laurence Anholt
- Draw the Marvel Comics Heroes - John Romita / Richard Becker
- Green Lantern's Book of Inventions - Clare Hibbert
- Giraffes Can't Dance - Giles Andreae
- The Bear Under the Stairs - Helen Cooper
- The Snow Lambs - Debi Gliori
- Room on the Broom Board Book - Julia Donaldson