Crocodile Tears

Crocodile Tears
Roger McGough and Greg McLeod
Otter-Barry Books

‘The crocodile said to the chimpanzee, “Chimpanzee, I want to be free. The jungle jangle’s not for me.” Said crocodile goes on to utter a similar sentiment to other jungle residents – mosquito,

parakeet, alligator, hippo, a piranha fish, as well as mum, faithfully promising to write to her.

Then with rucksack on back, the crocodile glides off downstream heading seawards. Once there a clever disguise is donned and breathing deeply, the creature dives beneath the waves, jetting towards a banana boat. This little croc seems to have everything worked out.

Safely aboard, our traveller spends much of the voyage sleeping and the rest consuming healthy fare. Then, having docked, it’s more stowing away, now on wheeled transport, destination the big city.

First job in this strange new environment is to honour that promise to mum. The start of a series of Dear Mother letters is penned, telling of London’s dreary strangeness.

These epistles continue over time as croc. sees the sights of the city by day …

and by night. Then comes the snow and enough is enough for our roving reptile: the jungle calls once more and so …

This is an absolutely brilliant read aloud tale (make sure you read it carefully to yourself first though). Roger McGough’s narrative verse is bursting with wit as are those affecting letters crocodile writes home. The inherent humour is wonderfully reflected in animator Greg McLeod’s delectably quirky scenes of the intrepid traveller undertaking the journey of a lifetime. The crocodile’s eye views of our capital city are absolutely priceless.

Assuredly it’s a case of ‘east, west, home’s best’. I can’t wait to share this with young humans.

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