The Christmas Crocodile (Nancy Pearl’s Book Crush Rediscoveries)

From Caldecott-winning illustrator David Small and bestselling author Bonny Becker, an unforgettable Christmas story that will leave the whole family giggling. When Alice Jayne finds a crocodile under the tree on Christmas Eve, her family goes into an uproar! The Christmas Crocodile doesn’t mean to be bad, not really, but soon he is eating up

From Caldecott-winning illustrator David Small and bestselling author Bonny Becker, an unforgettable Christmas story that will leave the whole family giggling.

When Alice Jayne finds a crocodile under the tree on Christmas Eve, her family goes into an uproar! The Christmas Crocodile doesn’t mean to be bad, not really, but soon he is eating up Christmas—from the dinner roast to the left stove-top burner…even the Christmas tree! Everyone has an opinion about what to do with him. Uncle Theodore suggests they send him to Africa, Father recommends the zoo, and Aunt Figgy mentions an orphanage. But Alice Jayne thinks the Christmas Crocodile deserves a real family. Can she find him a new home? And will she and the family survive till Christmas morning, with that naughty crocodile gobbling up everything in sight?

Uncle Theodore is huffing, Aunt Figgy is fretting, and Alice Jayne is tapping her foot–pretty subdued behavior considering the fact that a hungry crocodile has just appeared under the Christmas tree. This eccentric family handles the mysterious reptile remarkably well, even though the beast seems to have an appetite as fierce as its legendary bite. The Christmas Crocodile tears around the house eating everything in sight, whether edible (a roast, five golden oranges, a pineapple upside-down cake) or inedible (a shoe, ribbons, a feather boa, earmuffs, and fruitcake). The family is divided over how to best deal with this unexpected guest. Send him to an orphanage? Pack him off to the zoo? Make him into a pair of shoes? “He’s nice,” said Alice Jayne. “Maybe we could keep him.” Just when it seems the crocodile has eaten all he can stomach, the family awakens to discover that he has consumed nearly all the presents and the Christmas tree too! The one uneaten gift holds the key to this toothsome tale, as well as a surprise that will have kids smiting their foreheads in gleeful anticipation of more mayhem to come.

Author Bonny Becker has crafted a rollicking reptile romp, with an apologetic refrain–“The Christmas Crocodile didn’t mean to be bad, not really”–to which children can surely relate. David Small, creator of the Caldecott Honor-winning The Gardener, accompanies Becker’s spritely, funny text with equally amusing, expressive illustrations that will have youngsters poring over this book long after the last present has been unwrapped. (Ages 4 to 8) –Brangien Davis