The Crocodile and the Dentist

illus. by Taro Gomi. 40p. Chronicle. Aug. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452170282. POP
PreS-Gr 2—This crowd-pleaser from Gomi will have children and adults laughing out loud at the clever use of mirrored dialogue to convey two different points of view. The premise is simple and relatable: a crocodile dreads his dentist visit, and the dentist isn't exactly thrilled about working on such a dangerously toothy patient. This dynamic plays out entirely within the identical internal monologues of the two characters. Gomi is a master of showing rather than telling, leaving ample room for readers' interpretation as the crocodile and the dentist come face to face, with poses and facial expressions that echo each other. This slim volume is an effective springboard for assuaging children's anxiety about dentist visits, and also invites a broader conversation about recognizing emotions in others. Gomi's trademark watercolor artwork is bold, expressive, and colorful, and the text is straightforward and minimalist, conveying a great deal in just a few words and brush strokes.
VERDICT A solid first purchase for most picture book collections.

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