Who Will Kiss the Crocodile? by Suzy Senior, illustrated by Claire Powell. Tiger Tales, 2022. 9781680102840
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Format: Hardcover picture book
Genre: Fairy tale
What did you like about the book? In this zany retelling of Sleeping Beauty, the king and queen of a Victorian-inspired kingdom neglect to invite one of the fairies to their new daughter’s christening. The angry and stern looking fairy (in an unattractive purple and black dress, topped with a fussy, skull-accented hat) turns the baby into a crocodile and decrees that she will die when she bumps her knee at age 16. Whoosh, a kindly and dapper gentleman fairy softens the blow and familiarly changes the curse: she will fall into a deep sleep only to be awoken by a kiss. But who would want to kiss a crocodile? Once Sleeping Beauty does fall asleep, the castle falls into disrepair, covered with brambles and shunned by prospective princes who pass on kissing the snoozing reptile. Never fear, the Fix-It crew arrives in their snappy van (two middle-aged ladies) and clean up the place, blowing a departing kiss to the princess, who reverts to her true form, triggering a massive dance party (all invited). The colorful and droll digital illustrations are funny and inclusive, with people of all colors partying, jigging, and exclaiming over every event. The jaunty rhyme scheme had a nice cadence and mostly managed to avoid clunky word choice. On each page of text, a few words appear in bold typeface, to increase their impact and cue readers to emphasize them during the read aloud.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? Teachers are often looking for multiple retellings of traditional folk tales for lessons, so this would be an entertaining addition to any Sleeping Beauty list. If kids in your library are always demanding twisted fairy tales, this would be a nice update to your collection. Fun as a storytime option too.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Either in picture books or in 398.2 with the other Sleeping Beauties.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: August 26, 2022