I’m pretty tough when it comes to picture books. There are so many printed each year—which are the good stories, and which are the best stories?
Every household has a mountain of old favorites, which means new books don’t just scuffle with each other. They compete against the likes of Shirley Hughes, Rosemary Wells and Don & Audrey Wood. Which means an author/illustrator team has to be bloody brilliant to break out.
I read Crocodaddy, by Kim Norman, to a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old. They listen to anything, and they did enjoy the story: their reviews will go up tomorrow. But today’s viewpoint is that of a critical older-sister/children’s-librarian/former-picture-book-connoisseur. Crocodaddy is cute, but not break-out material.
Rhyming books are difficult to do well, and the couplet style is not a favorite of mine. Some lines worked: “That’s how you tame a Crocodaddy pet … (you don’t need a rope and you don’t need a net!)" But other lines felt crowded and choppy.
The illustrations are engaging. Both kids enjoyed the colors. But while the concept was great (daddy playing with his son, pretending to be a crocodile), the text fell short for me.