February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz | SLJ Review

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redstarSCHLITZ, Laura Amy. Princess Cora and the Crocodile. illus. by Brian Floca. 80p. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763648220.

CB-Schlitz-PrincessCoraandtheCrocodileGr 1-4 –Little Cora is an old-fashioned princess with a decidedly contemporary problem: her well-meaning parents have overscheduled her with improving experiences, and she just wants a day off. Failing at her less than assertive attempts to convince the adults of her castle to give her a break, she calls on her fairy godmother for assistance. The help comes in the form of a gigantic crocodile who dons Cora’s frilly pink dress and takes her place in the princess’s daily routine of excessive bath taking, spreadsheet review, and calisthenics in the dungeon-turned-gym. Schlitz’s narrative is incredibly entertaining, with chapters that alternate between chaos at the castle and Cora’s meandering day in the woods and pastures. Featuring Floca’s hysterical full-color artwork, the book is laugh-out-loud funny. The crocodile’s expressive, snaggle-toothed face and extreme body language clearly convey his frustration with Cora’s required activities, and his eventual shutdown of each oblivious adult is a bored child’s dream come true. The fable is reminiscent of the finest adult-comeuppance collaborations of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, with the added bonus that the princess learns to speak up for herself and the grown-ups learn to listen. The book’s trim size and artwork will appeal to fans of Kate DiCamillo’s “Mercy Watson” series, and the elegant prose reads aloud beautifully. VERDICT This delightful illustrated chapter book is a first purchase for all elementary schools and public libraries.–Beth Wright Redford, Richmond Elementary School Library, VT

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

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