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Reviewed by:
  • Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • Karen Coats
Schlitz, Laura Amy Princess Cora and the Crocodile; illus. by Brian Floca. Candlewick, 2017 [80p]
ISBN 978-0-7636-4822-0 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 2-4

By age seven, Princess Cora doesn’t have a minute to herself; she is scrubbed to spotless perfection by a thrice-daily bath schedule imposed by her nanny, bored to tears by her mother’s endless nonfiction reading lessons, and frustrated by her father’s monotonous fitness regimen. Fortunately, her fairy godmother sends her a crocodile, and after soliciting a promise that he won’t eat anyone, Cora escapes to the great outdoors and has a lovely day while the croc wreaks havoc on her adults’ exacting plans. Schlitz creates storytelling alchemy here, taking a common enough contemporary problem of the overscheduled child and reworking it into a mythically satisfying tale. Cora’s mundane adventures—figuring out how to climb a tree, picking strawberries, stepping in a cow pie—are cunningly juxtaposed against the crocodile’s absurd interventions, wherein he uses just enough physical violence, nipping and clawing the royal parents, to elicit laughs from readers and get the characters’ attention so that Cora can make her point upon her return. Floca’s crocodile achieves sly, good-natured ferocity tempered by the delicacy of the ink, watercolor and gouache illustrations, and the humans are just as serious and glum as they should be until Cora asserts her independence. Although divided into chapters, this standout original fairy tale can be devoured in one sitting, making it an excellent overall choice for early readers or a family readaloud. [End Page 281]



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Launched on MUSE
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