Winston & George

John Miller, illus. by Giuliano Cucco. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $17.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-59270-145-2
Best friends George, a crocodile, and Winston, a crocodile bird, take symbiosis to a new level. Winston perches on George's snout and alerts him whenever he spies a fish; then George dives deep in the water, taking the fish to shore "where they enjoyed many a delicious meal together." Despite their mutual affection, Winston can't resist playing pranks on George and the other crocodiles, such as shouting "Danger!" just to see the reptiles make big splashes in the water. When Winston takes his pranking too far, and George is placed at real risk, it results in a true test of their friendship. Cucco creates a highly appealing jungle landscape of chunky cartoons and vivid color contrasts—Winston is (ironically) safety orange, while lime-green George has a hot pink tongue. As an author's note explains, while Miller and the late Cucco wrote and illustrated their picture books in 1960s Italy before losing touch with each other, this is the first of their works to see publication. Both a throwback and fully modern, it's a charming story of devoted friendship—feathers, scales, and all. Ages 5–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/14/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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