Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Amy Laura Schlitz

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Amy Laura Schlitz. 74 p. Candlewick Press, March, 2017 9780763648220. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Princess Cora is born to her overjoyed parents who marvel at her perfection. However, it isn't long before they begin to fret that she isn't perfect enough. After all, if she will one day be queen, she must be strong and smart! So, they set about making that happen. The queen chains her to boring books most day, the king makes her do calisthenics for the rest of day and the nanny throws her into the bath at least three times a day in between. 

Princess Cora is frustrated. She also wants a pet. But dogs shed and a pet is forbidden so Princess Cora does what any self-respecting princess would do - she turns to her fairy godmother for help. She writes her a letter and lo and behold, the next day Princess Cora awakens to find a box by her bedside! Imagine her surprise though, when she opens the box and it is not a dog. It is a crocodile. The crocodile is willing to trade places with her so that Princess Cora can gad about for a day with "no baths, no books, no skipping rope. Just a day to do what I like."

Crocodile has to promise not to eat anyone and gamely dons one of Princess Cora's dresses. Princess Cora hilariously solves the problem of Croc's baldness with a wig made of, what else, a mop head. Once the disguise in in place, Princess Cora happily trots out of the palace for a day outside.

Action alternates between Cora and the crocodile. First the crocodile deals with Nanny, mindful that his promise not to eat anyone did not preclude biting them! Cora discovers that it is hard to climb a tree but once she does, it is blissful! As she explores, she gets dirty and scraped and loses her shoes and steps in poop. She has a spectacular day!

Brian Floca's watercolor and ink illustrations are traditional but exude humor and perfectly complement the text, which is perfect for reading aloud. Thoroughly modern, over-scheduled kids will relate to Princess Cora's predicament. This is a must-read for all helicopter tiger parents out there. Kids need to be kids. They need to get outdoors and explore. They need to get dirty. They need to make mistakes and know they are loved. All Cora wants is a pet and some down time. Children will cheer for Cora as she makes her break for freedom and laugh out loud at the crocodile's antics.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile is a first-purchase!

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