Dahl and Magical Picture Book Challenge 2011 Picture Books Reading Themes

The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl: A Cautionary Tale for Children

Click on the image to be taken to the websource

Fats here.

Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile made its first appearance in my recent IMM post, as can be seen here. I bought my copy from Barnes & Noble. It was tucked neatly between James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Because I had bought the special Roald Dahl collection from Costco, I haven’t had a chance to go “Dahl shopping” in bookstores. After all, 15 Dahl books should keep me occupied for a while. However, shopping instincts had also told me that if it was the only copy in the shelf, then I should grab it. And grab it I did.

Short, Simple, and Sweet. The Enormous Crocodile is the shortest Roald Dahl book I have read so far. The storyline is simple. Determined to make a comeback from his last [failed] attempt to devour a child, the Enormous crocodile comes up with fresh Secret Plans and Clever Tricks to catch children and make yummy meals out of them.

The Enormous Crocodile showing hundreds of sharp, white teeth, this crocodile surely read the guide on teeth whitening. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

“I’m the cleverest croc in the whole river,” the Enormous Crocodile answered. “For my lunch today I shall feast upon a fat juicy little child while you lie here in the river feeling hungry. Goodbye.” – The Enormous Crocodile talking to the Notsobig One

The simple plot makes it easy for children to understand the story and remember details in the book. The turn of events remind me of short stories and fables I’ve read when I was a child. This book is testament to the fact that Roald Dahl is one of the best [and most-loved] storytellers in the world.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Children are naturally drawn to animals, and the personification of the animals in the book makes the story all the more exciting and fun to read. I think that the characters in the story are well represented. Thinking highly of himself, the Enormous Croc boasts his fiendish plans to every animal he meets in the jungle, namely the hippopotamus, the elephant, the monkey, and Dahl’s famous fictional Roly-Poly bird. Of course, our anti-hero does not know that these fellas are as clever as he claims to be.

Roly Poly bird line drawing by Quentin Blake. The Roly Poly bird is famous for its colorful tail feathers. It made its first appearance in The Twits. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

While I was reading the book, I did a little research on these animals and found that they are indeed such clever creatures, as Roald Dahl portrayed them in the book. Funny, I did not even bother researching about the croc. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has its own clever tricks in real life. However, because of its appearance and its viciousness, one cannot help but jump to the conclusion that it is bad and nasty and always up to no good. This the Enormous Crocodile would learn the hard way as it unleashes its fiendish plans.

The Enormous Crocodile in a merry-go-round. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Dahl’s Knack for Wordplay. Aside from the obvious cast of animal characters and Quentin Blake’s wonderful watercolor artworks, readers young and old alike will take delight in Roald Dahl’s inventive language. If there is one thing the Enormous Crocodile is good at, it’s his poetic delivery of his fiendish plans, the kind that gets stuck in your mind for a while. I must admit, some of the lines are downright brutal for children.

I’m going to fill my hungry empty tummy
With something yummy yummy yummy yummy!

I’m off to find a yummy child for lunch.
Keep listening and you’ll hear the bones go crunch!

The sort of things that I am going to eat
Have fingers, toe-nails, arms, and legs and feet!

It’s luscious, it’s super,
It’s mushious, it’s duper,
It’s better than rotten old fish.
You mash it and munch it,
You chew it and crunch it!
It’s lovely to hear it go squish!

Afterthoughts. If you’re looking for entertainment, then you have found the right book! If anything, this book teaches children that it’s best to be on your guard at all times. That not everyone can be trusted. And that things are not always as they seem.

Picture Book Challenge Update: 120 of 120

Fats is the Assistant Manager for Circulation Services at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, Ohio. She considers herself a reader of all sorts, although she needs to work on her non-fiction reading. Fats likes a good mystery but is not too fond of thrillers. She takes book hoarding seriously and enjoys collecting bookmarks and tote bags. When she is not reading, Fats likes to shop pet apparel for her cat Penny (who absolutely loathes it).

2 comments on “The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl: A Cautionary Tale for Children

  1. My boys are going to love this! We are Roald Dahl fans, but we don’t have this one.


  2. Pingback: Carnival of Children’s Literature and Round up for October |

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