book review

Daffodil, Crocodile by Emily Jenkins, illustrations by Tomek Bogacki

Cover Image

Daffodil is tired of being a “pretty little, clean little flower of a girl”, and she’s even more tired of looking just like her sisters Rose and Violet.   So what does Daffodil do?  She finds a papier mache crocodile mask and begins to “raaa raaa raaa” and “chomp chomp chomp”, because crocodiles “are not flowers”, says Daffodil.   As a crocodile, Daffofil has a wonderful time, taking a trip to Jupiter, eating the guests at her sisters tea party, and even causing all kinds of trouble at the dinner table.  When crocodile/Daffodil goes to school, she is indeed a different person, playing soccer, eating up blocks, and getting dirty.  Interestingly, even though her school mates can now recognize her as Daffodil, she sticks with her dual crocodile personality, opting to bite a tree rather than jump rope with a friend.  Alas, when the crocodile pretends that the bathtub is a swamp, the mask becomes ruined.  But even though the crocodile mask is done, Daffodil insists to her mother that she is still a crocodile and not a flower, then runs off to “raaa” and chomp with her sisters.  The whimsical illustrations are softly bright, and childlike, simple and uncluttered yet filled with details that kids will recognize, from the cities made from blocks at school to the sailboats on the shower curtain in the bathroom.  The crocodile head that Daffodil wears is humerously oversized, dominating the pages on which it appears, helping to fulfill Daffodil’s wish to not be just another pretty little girl, but to be an individual that stands out from the crowd (or at least from her sisters).   This lively story will help reassure kids that it’s both ok and fun to be differnet and want to go “raaaa” on their own every once in a while.

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